The 43rd MS Readathon has opened registrations for 2021 - encouraging Australians to jump off social media and dive into a good book, all for a good cause.
Last year, sign-up numbers in the ACT more than doubled from 380 in 2019 to 889 in 2020. So, the MS charity is calling on ACT kids and families to get involved again to go even better.
MS is the national voice for people living with multiple sclerosis.
The annual MS Readathon inspires kids to read as much as they can throughout August to raise vital funds for the 25,600 Australians living with multiple sclerosis and their family members.
Showing everyone the way are Theodore sisters Daisy and Elodie Duffill. Daisy is only five and Elodie nearly three but, with the help of their parents, they have already raised $3300 participating in the last three MS Readathons. Last year, their parents Rebecca and Blake read the girls 100 books.
They were the highest fundraisers in the ACT last year and are on a mission to read 103 books - Daisy's exact goal.
Rebecca said losing a friend who had been diagnosed with MS has contributed to the family's commitment to the MS Readathon.
"We thought it would be a good way to honour her and we just wanted to introduce the girls to fundraising and encourage them to help others," she said.
"And they love to read."
Elodie's favourite book is Pingu Hides a Letter, while Daisy loves the Little People Big Dreams series, especially the one about Coco Chanel.
Rebecca said they were focused on teaching Daisy to read this year.
"All children love books and I think if you nurture that, it can really develop into a lifelong thing and encourage their learning as well," she said.
Elizabeth Dorizac, senior manager, individual giving at Multiple Sclerosis Ltd, said fundraising would contribute to people with MS and their families attending MS family camps and fun days.
The camps provide an opportunity for kids who have a parent living with MS to spend quality time with their family, learn more about the condition and bond with other kids who are sharing their journey.
Rebecca and Blake, meanwhile, own Subway franchises at Tuggeranong, Greenway, Chisholm and Erindale and customers also put their spare change into tins left on the counter.
"We are sympathetic to those living with MS and will continue to show our support," Rebecca said.
Kids, adults and schools can register for the challenge and keep track of their book tally at msreadathon.org.au