MS Read-a-Thon in Canada Extended to Meet Goal

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by Mary Chapman |

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MS Read-a-Thon | Multiple Sclerosis News Today | Canada | illustration of person reading

The MS Society of Canada‘s virtual MS Read-a-Thon event has been extended to March 20, giving children and families throughout Canada extra time to enjoy reading while raising funds for the multiple sclerosis (MS) community.

The event, which began Jan. 27, seeks to generate $110,000 to support programs and research into finding a cure for the 90,000 individuals who live with MS in Canada, a country with one of the world’s highest rates of the chronic autoimmune disorder. So far, 495 participants have raised nearly $72,000.

For more than 40 years, the idea behind the venerable program has been to inspire children to read as much as they can, and whatever they like, while helping the MS community. Children can register with their school or as individuals. Teachers may register an entire class.

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Funds raised will go toward support services such as the MS Society of Canada’s 1:1 Peer Support Program. That virtual program for patients and their families connects individuals affected by MS with someone who can support them on their journey, making them feel less alone. Funds also will help provide patients with mobility equipment or safety devices such as bathroom rails.

To inject more fun into the fundraiser, the organization has added an interactive website that enables children to keep track of the books they’ve read. The site also includes an event launch video, a downloadable coloring page, an achievement certificate, and more. As fundraising milestones are reached, children will be able to customize their MS Read-a-Thon avatar and collect “stars” and badges.

The organization also is providing fundraising tips such as selling toys children have outgrown, sharing one’s fundraising page on social media, or reading in a dress-up costume. Parents may visit this webpage for more information and suggestions.

Throughout this month, Ainara Alleyne — @ainarasbookshelf on Instagram— joins the MS Society on social media to host live MS Read-a-Thon’s “Bookworm Buddies” virtual book club events. In her role, the 12-year-old Hamilton, Ontario resident, who is an event Junior Ambassador, chats with authors and fundraiser participants, sharing reading recommendations and the simple joy of reading.

“I’m so excited to continue reading and fundraising for the MS Read-a-Thon alongside all of our ‘Bookworm Buddies’ from across Canada,” Alleyne said in a press release. “There’s still time to sign up and read books to help people living with MS in your community.”

One patient, Melissa, of Edmonton, Alberta, and her 7-year-old son, have participated in the MS Read-a-Thon for two years. “MS Read-a-Thon has been such an excellent experience for our family,” she said. “This event has sparked my son’s love of reading and it is amazing to see him with his head in a book. It has also shown him that even though he is young, he can do big things like helping others who are impacted by MS.”

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