Kilkenny people are asked to support MS Ireland’s MS READaTHON 2020

Mary Cody

Reporter:

Mary Cody

Email:

mary.cody@kilkennypeople.ie

Kilkenny people are asked to support MS Ireland’s MS READaTHON 2020

Kilkenny readers are being urged to support this year's MS Ireland READaTHON which will take place during the month of November.

With MS Ireland expecting a decrease of fundraised income of over €1 million this year, the charity and the thousands of people they support around the country are depending on their flagship event more than ever to continue to provide the same level of service next year.

Multiple Sclerosis Ireland is pleased to announce that the MS READaTHON will take place this year, beginning on November 1 and lasting the full month of November. This year MS Ireland will be launching a brand new interactive website as the READaTHON will be going virtual for the first time in its 33-year history. Thousands of readers young and old will take part in raising awareness and vital funds to support the 9,000 people living with MS, the most common debilitating neurological condition affecting young adults in Ireland.

The MS READaTHON is Ireland’s biggest sponsored reading initiative when young readers raise funds for vital services to help people living with Multiple Sclerosis in local communities. The campaign is MS Ireland’s oldest and most anticipated event each year, originally launched by Roald Dahl in 1988 and has grown ever since. This year the campaign takes on new importance for MS Ireland, due to the economic impact of Covid-19 fundraised income is expected to be down 38% on previous years. Traditionally, the campaign has been popular amongst the schoolchildren of Ireland, but this year MS Ireland is encouraging ‘grown up’ readers to take part and get their offices, clubs and families to rediscover their love of reading.

Ava Battles, Chief Executive of MS Ireland said, “We are delighted that the MS READaTHON will go ahead again this year, its 33rd year. Young readers, parents, teachers and schools have continued to support the MS community, reading and raising funds to help people living with MS and their families. This is greatly appreciated and as each annual MS READaTHON comes around, we want to acknowledge their efforts and we look forward readers young and old rediscovering their love of reading. The MS READaTHON is our biggest fundraising campaign and we simply cannot keep our services running without it. This year, it takes on a whole new level of importance as we hope to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 and expected fundraising losses of over €1 million. 

"This year is different for everyone as we adjust to our ‘new normal’.  We’ve all had to adapt to our new reality and change how we live, socialise and work, however, out of adversity is born innovation. This year MS Ireland is embracing the challenges that face us by making the READaTHON a Virtual campaign where we will be launching a new interactive website that we hope will be a tremendous success” 

While the MS READaTHON is set to be different to previous years, the concept hasn’t changed. Students read whatever they like, as much as they can for the month of November. On the new website readers can earn virtual Reward Badges and Stars for the goals they achieve, they can build their avatars, share their campaign on social media and rate and review the books they read. The new MS READaTHON website is designed to enrich a school’s reading culture without taking away from teachers  time. 

Now, more than ever the MS community need support and advice.  Funds raised by readers around the country directly support vital services, for example the MS Ireland Information Line, enabling one-to-one support for those newly diagnosed, physiotherapy and exercise classes to help people with MS remain independent, and respite care.

Multiple Sclerosis - meaning ‘many scars’ is the most common debilitating neurological condition affecting young adults in Ireland. It affects the motor, sensory and cognitive functioning of the body and is usually diagnosed between 20 and 40 years of age. The impact of MS on individuals, their families and the community can undermine the resilience that is needed for individuals to remain purposeful and in control of their lives. Three times more women than men are diagnosed with MS. There is no cause or cure.

Among other services, MS Ireland uses the funds raised to provide vital services that reduce the impact of MS including physiotherapy, general support services, and newly diagnosed seminars. 

More than two-thirds of the 9,000 people living with MS in Ireland access these resources. All those affected by the condition rely on MS Ireland to advocate on their behalf on any issues which will impact their quality of life.  

Members of the public with any queries relating to MS are invited to call the MS Information Line 1850 233 233. Open Monday- Friday 10am- 2pm. Calls are strictly confidential.