This year, a five-year-old girl from Stratford embraces the competitive spirit of the MS Read-A-Thon


Five-year-old Izzy Marchenko is getting back to reading as many books and raising as much money as possible for the MS Society of Canada’s annual MS Read-A-Thon.

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When it comes to reading, Stratford’s Izzy Marchenko is a bit competitive.

As part of last year’s MS Read-A-Thon fundraiser for the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, now 5-year-old Izzy read a total of 750 books and raised approximately $6,500 in less than two months. This earned her the distinction of having read the most books of any participant in Canada and raising the second highest amount for MS research and support for Canadians like her mother, Lindsey Marchenko, who live with the disease.

And Izzy’s hard work was recognized last year. Not only did she make headlines – both in print and on television – but she was also included in the launch of the Bookworm Buddies book club live stream of the MS Read-a-Thon 2022 January 17.

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“I had a lot of meetings,” Izzy said of the live stream. “It was very hard.”

“It was really cool,” added Lindsey Marchenko. “…They asked her a few questions – her and the top fundraiser (Connor Hayes).”

At six, Hayes has raised more than $13,750 for the read-a-thon in 2021.

While Izzy is quite proud of the fact that she read the most books at last year’s fundraiser, she uses the example Hayes set last year as motivation to raise even more. money this year.

“Connor was first because he was on the news,” Izzy said with just a hint of jealousy.

While Connor may have had the edge when it came to fundraising last year, so far this year – just two days after the MS Read-a-Thon officially started on January 27 – Izzy had pulled it off. read more than 70 books and raised more than $1,500, although her mother said she had a head start and started reading for the fundraiser when registration opened in December.

While Izzy says she won’t be reading nearly the same number of books she read last year, she has set herself the goal of reading 150 books, many of which are much longer than the ones she’s read. she read in 2021. On Saturday, she said she was reading Charlotte’s Web, one of dozens of books she borrowed from Stratford Public Library for fundraising.

“I read like lightning,” Izzy said.

“I think her participation in the read-a-thon last year advanced her reading astronomically,” Lindsey Martchenko said. “She can read punctuation and she will do little voices because she knows when the characters are speaking.”

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Izzy is even writing her own book called The Very Good Egg, which one would assume will also be added to the list of books she’s read for the 2022 read-a-thon once she’s finished it.

And, like she did last year, Izzy is encouraging other kids to join her in reading and raising money for the MS Society of Canada by the end of the fundraiser on the 28th. February.

“(It’s) to help people with MS,” Izzy said. “And maybe older kids can read too, or your parents can help with reading.”

“I think it’s great for her to be involved at such a young age,” Lindsey Martchenko said. “…It’s something she’s passionate about and leads directly to helping people with MS. She loved to read even before she started participating last year and it was only natural.

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