MS Read-a-Thon Makes a Difference in the Lives of Canadians Impacted by MS, One Book at a Time
Long-time fundraiser kicks-off with a virtual book club event, awakening a love for reading in children while supporting the Canadian MS community
TORONTO, O.N. (Jan. 20, 2022) — Children, families, and classrooms across the country are invited to join the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society of Canada’s annual MS Read-a-Thon, taking place virtually from Jan. 27 to Feb. 28, 2022. This year’s event will kick-off with “Bookworm Buddies,” a virtual book club event on Jan. 22 at 11 a.m. ET on the MS Society’s YouTube channel, featuring MS Read-a-Thon ambassadors, current participants and last year’s top fundraisers.
The event will be hosted by MS Read-a-Thon Junior Ambassador Ainara Alleyne of the popular Instagram account @ainarasbookshelf, which celebrates children’s books with characters who are Black and people of colour. The Hamilton, Ontario-based 12-year-old will interview best-selling Indigenous children’s author and MS Read-a-Thon Ambassador, David Bouchard, of Victoria, B.C., during the kick-off event. He will read from his latest book We Learn from the Sun, which is based on the seven sacred teachings that are universal to most First Nations people.
Ainara will also join the MS Society on social media throughout the month of February to host interviews with other MS Read-a-Thon Ambassadors – children’s authors Ashley Spires and Mireille Messier – as well as share her book recommendations that feature diverse stories for the MS Read-a-Thon “Bookworm Buddies” to add to their reading lists.
“I’ve participated in MS Read-a-Thon so many times through school, and now I am so excited and honoured to be a part of it as their junior ambassador. I’d encourage you to register your child for MS Read-a-Thon, too and come along for the adventure,” says Ainara.
For more than 40 years, MS Read-a-Thon has helped kids across Canada discover the joy of reading, all while helping create a world free of MS. To make MS Read-a-Thon more fun than ever before, the MS Society reimagined the program last year with a modern and digital approach. Today’s MS Read-a-Thon features an interactive website that allows kids to track the books they read, customize cool avatars, earn badges as they reach fundraising milestones, and much more. The rules are simple – read whatever you like, as much as you can, during the month of February while raising funds to support people in their community who are impacted by MS. Registration for MS Read-a-Thon is free, and children can register as part of their school or individually.
“I have fond memories of taking part in this iconic event as a kid back in the late 1970s so I’m incredibly excited that a new generation of Canadians are embarking on reading adventures and embracing the MS Read-a-Thon challenge through our interactive website,” says Kyla Arsenault, Senior Director, Community Fundraising, for the MS Society of Canada. “This year, we have a goal of raising $150,000 through this event. By participating, you’re joining hundreds of children and families who are raising much-needed funds and making a difference in the lives of people impacted by MS, one book at a time.”
While making fun memories and building awareness for MS, participants will raise critical funds to support programming for the MS community and mobilize research into finding a cure and improving the quality of life for the more than 90,000 Canadians who live with MS. Whether you are participating as an individual, in your classroom or within your school, you will be joining hundreds of other children and families on reading adventures that encourage discussions around giving back to others.
To learn more about Read-a-Thon and register for free, visit msreadathon.ca.
About multiple sclerosis and the MS Society of Canada
Canada has one of the highest rates of multiple sclerosis in the world. On average, 12 Canadians are diagnosed every day. MS is a chronic autoimmune disease of the central nervous system (brain, spinal cord). It is considered an episodic disability meaning that the severity and duration of illness and disability can vary and are often followed by periods of wellness. It can also be progressive. Most people are diagnosed with MS between the ages of 20 and 49 and the unpredictable effects of the disease will last for the rest of their lives. The MS Society provides information, support and advocacy to people affected by MS, and funds research to find the cause and cure for the disease, bringing us closer to a world free of MS. Please visit mssociety.ca or call 1-800-268-7582 for more information, to get involved, or to support Canadians affected by MS by making a donation.
MS Society of Canada