Saturday, June 24, 2006

Read for a cure

Like many households with school age kids, our family spent the month of May motivated to read greater and greater quantities of books under the guise of the MS Readathon. This is an annual fundraising exercise for research into MS. The idea is that your child finds sponsors for the reading they do; each of whom agrees to denote an amount for every book read. The assumption is that parents (also donating an amount per book) will monitor the reading and ensure it is all on the up and up. All in all, a win-win: children are encouraged to read and a good cause raises money. Our 7 year old and 5 year old managed 35 books between them; enough to qualify some prize.

The MS Readathon has been going on for at least 3 decades across many countries. A friend of mine in the US, now a successful lawyer, participated a quarter of a century ago but had very different motivations. All told, her reading shattered all records for quantity. She won some school prize and the adulation of all. But that isn't what motivated her.

The slogan for the MS Readathon was and still is "read for a cure." Well my friend took that literally. She surmised that sometime in the past someone had discovered the cure for MS. However, due to bureaucractic incompetence or fate or something, the precise book that contained the cure was lost. So the idea was to read as many books as possible in search for the cure!

Suffice it to say, she didn't find it but she was a greater contributor to the cause as a result. Who knows how she would have gone with 'shave for a cure'?