Leinster and Ireland star Malcolm O’Kelly and Irish celebrities Laura Woods and Aidan Power celebrated the success of the 2008 MS READaTHON by attending an Awards Ceremony in Dundrum Cinema recently…

In the 2008/09 campaign almost 30,000 children in 670 schools took part and helped raise an amazing €;1.3 million for families living with Multiple Sclerosis.

Winners from over 100 schools received a host of prizes and awards for their participation in this fundraiser for the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Ireland. Well known Irish author Marita Conlon-McKenna presented prizes on the day.

The campaign is now in its 21st year and has so far raised over €;10 million for the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Ireland. In the 2008/09 campaign almost 30,000 children in 670 schools took part in the campaign and helped raise an amazing €;1.3 million for families living with Multiple Sclerosis. An astonishing 500,000 books were read by pupils, aged 6-16 years, in schools nationwide during October and November last year.

As a special thank you to participants for their outstanding achievements, prizes ranging from a trip for 2 to see Man Utd play at Old Trafford to a selection of new books were awarded to 120 individual children. Hardworking teachers who volunteered their time to organise their schools’ participation were not forgotten, with Margaret Bermingham from Mount Mercy College in Cork, winning a top prize of a €;1,500 travel voucher.

Book vouchers were awarded to 15 winning schools from all over the country. Some of today’s most coveted prizes were the 5 Library Awards given to disadvantaged schools. These awards will enable the selected schools to upgrade or begin their libraries with grants for brand new books, ensuring their students maintain their enthusiasm for reading in the years to come!

Cheryl Gunning, MS READaTHON Manager at MS Ireland said, “The awards ceremony is our way of saying thank you to all the schools who took time out of their very busy schedules to read and raise so much money for us. Now more than ever we need to ensure we have the resources to carry out our services to the thousands of families experiencing difficulties living with Multiple Sclerosis. This campaign allows us to continue providing these services. Although every child participating in the campaign receives a thank you gift, today’s ceremony is an extra thank you to those who played an extra special part in MS READaTHON.”

Everyone at the Awards Ceremony were treated to face painters, clowns, sweets and treats and a special screening of “The Story of Kells”.

Multiple Sclerosis is the most common disabling neurological condition affecting over 7,000 Irish adults and the many thousands of people that share their lives. MS is a disease that affects the motor, sensory and cognitive functioning of the body. The variance in presence, severity and duration of symptoms coupled with the intermittent and progressive nature of MS impacts not only the person with MS but also family.

MS Ireland is the only national organisation working solely on behalf of people living with Multiple Sclerosis and the many thousands of people who share their lives. MS Ireland exists to facilitate people with Multiple Sclerosis to control their lives and environment, to live with dignity and participate in the community. The Society provides a range of services to meet the needs of the MS Community. Members of the public with any queries relating to MS should call the MS Helpline on 1850 233 233. All calls are strictly confidential.