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On a benefit concert for the Grup d'Afectats d'Esclerosi Múltiple.


Last Thursday, the Grup d'Afectats d'Esclerosi Múltiple (GAEM) organised their first live concert – 'Esclerock' - with a view to raising funds for an international research project underway in a Badalona hospital, which aims to develop a definitive cure for certain forms of multiple sclerosis by 2010. From the wings I watched Quimi Portet, Miqui Puig, Mazoni and Nour take an audience in the Palau de la Música's smaller auditorium from surreal love songs through to a finale which had even the back rows leaping to their feet and the two founders of the GAEM beating out the time from wheelchairs propelled enthusiastically onto centre-stage.
I used to teach English to one of them, back in the days when mobile phones looked like loaves of bread and most people believed CD-ROMs would end up replacing books. I lost touch with her for years until we ran into each other by the quitest of chance in a Barcelona market last year. When I fatuously asked her how she was, she gestured wearily at her wheelchair and told me about her diagnosis.
There are 6000 MS sufferers in Catalonia, 40,000 in the whole of Spain and some two and a half million worldwide. Not enough, it seems, to make it worth the pharmaceutical companies' while to invest one of their many mountains of cash in a search for a serious remedy, as opposed to merely palliative treatments. So a small group of affected people in a small corner of Europe have decided that this particular buck stops with them. The concert netted a satisfying 15,000 euros worth of pure research money – all the musicians and technicians having volunteered their skills for free - and the time flew by because we were enjoying ourselves. Please feel free to do as you see fit:

- Textos i contingut: Matthew Tree - Disseny i programació: Nac -