In the month of February, the Multiple Sclerosis Society is having an MS read-a-thon to encourage children to read, while at the same time raising money for MS society.

2021 marks the first in many years that the MS society has had a Read-a-thon.

"The MS Society did the read-a-thon way back in the day, they did it decades ago, it used to be a big fundraiser," says MS advocate Lori Kemp. "They haven’t done it in a number of years, but they have decided to bring it back this year."

Anyone can sign up for the MS read-a-thon, it is free to sign up, and there is no minimum fundraising limit.

"You can sign up as an individual, you can sign up as a team…the campaign is geared towards getting kids involved with it, but there is nothing stopping an adult from getting involved in it," says Kemp.

Any funds raised from the Read-a-thon will go to support the MS Society, which supports critical MS research, as well as helping people who have MS providing services for them and their families.

Canada has one of the highest rates of Multiple Sclerosis in the world, with an estimated 90,000 Canadians affected by the illness. According to the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, On average 12 Canadians are diagnosed every day with this chronic lifelong disease.

Originally the Read-a-thon was scheduled to go until February 28, but the MS society has extended the campaign to March 20th. So there is lots of time to sign up, and start reading!

"The great thing about it now is that when we are all in various degrees of lockdown….everybody is on screen time and maybe watching a little bit too much Netflix, so it’s good to encourage the kids to do something different," says Kemp. "Kids can actually list out on the website the books they have read, and it can be encouraging for kids to see their progress."

Encouraging literacy, while at the same time raising money for MS research and support, is such a great initiative, and a great way to support those who live with Multiple Sclerosis.

Since 1950 the MS Society of Canada has had a presence here on the prairies, and a Manitoba-specific chapter was formed in 1980 to help deal with the extremely high rates of MS here in the Province. The MS Society funds research, and awareness about the disease. It also helps MS patients with all facets of living with this chronic life-changing illness, whether it is physical or occupational therapy, the use of devices such as a walker, cane etc., or just basic help with coping with the disease.

Written by Chris Wolf.