MS Readathon to go digital for first time in 33-year history

by Rachel Darcy

An Irish school staple, the MS Ireland READaTHON, have announced that they will be going digital with the annual fundraiser for 2020 in an attempt to save Ireland’s oldest fundraising event.

Running for over 30 years, MS Ireland have said that the MS Ireland READaTHON is at risk due to Covid-19 and its effects on fundraising activities in 2020. However, the charity are hoping that a new interactive website will encourage families and schools around the country to sign up and take part.

Beginning on November 1 and lasting the full month of November, the MS READaTHON will be going virtual for the first time in its 33 year history.

Thousands of readers 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 new website will launch next week.

The campaign is Ireland’s biggest sponsored reading initiative when young readers raise funds for vital services to help people living with Multiple Sclerosis.

The campaign is MS Ireland’s oldest and most anticipated event each year, originally launched by Roald Dahl in 1988. 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 to 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.”

Related Articles