The MS Readathon Celebrates Its 30th Year
Happy Roald Dahl Day! While today marks the birthday of the legendary author himself, Monday saw Felicity Dahl help to officially launch the 30th MS Readathon. This was particularly significant, as her late husband launched the very first Readathon in 1988. With her incredible warmth, she is certainly the right person to inspire children to go forth and read.
Felicity Dahl, who runs the Roald Dahl Foundation, and who produced such films as Matilda, and Charlie & The Chocolate Factory; gave a truly inspirational speech:
“Roald passionately believe, as do I, that it only takes one book to begin a life long love affair with reading. The MS Readathon is a wonderful opportunity for children all over Ireland to discover the 'magic book' that makes them laugh, gasp, or stay up late to read those extra few pages. And in doing so, transforms them into a reader for life.
"On Wednesday this week, we mark Roald Dahl Day, an annual global event that happens on Roald’s birthday. The theme of Roald Dahl Day this year, is his child heroes. A rebellious and resilient bunch. I’m sure you’d agree: adventurous James, brave Sophie, good-hearted Charlie, maverick inventor George, anarchic Matilda, and intrepid Billy.
Good luck, and again thank you for inviting me to celebrate in this 30th anniversary. And here’s to all the child heroes we know; who by becoming involved (in the MS Readathon) in this very special year, will be making such a difference to the lives of those equally heroic people living with MS in communities across Ireland."
This year, the MS Readathon is sponsored by Heinz; which seems apt as both the Readathon and the brand are important symbols of childhood for many people around Ireland. As Emily O’Kane, Marketing Manager at Kraft Heinz discussed:
“The MS Readathon has been central to the school-calendar for Irish families for years, and we’re delighted to be part of this celebration. Our own classic products fuel mealtimes for the whole family, encouraging children to expand their imagination in new ways … The movement of young readers around the country joining this fantastic cause is something to be really proud of. Here’s to the next 30 years!"
Last year, more than 10,000 young readers in schools around the country took part last year, reading 87,000 books in total; and raising valuable funds for people with Multiple Sclerosis in their community. More than 9000 people are living with MS in Ireland, which affects the motor, sensory, and cognitive functioning of the body; and is usually diagnosed between 20 and 40 years of age. Michelle Hanley, the ambassador of this year's readathon who herself has MS; explained what the campaign means to her:
"I’m honoured this year to be part of the MS Readathon. I think it’s brilliant, especially what the kids do, to raise so much for people like me living with MS. It’s not the easiest battle ... and for events like these to go on is just fantastic, and it keeps us feeling positive. It’s a very hard thing to do; but to be raising awareness, and to get such positivity is just fantastic. So I do thank you all for reading, and getting involved, and being a part of it all."