Six-year-old “Izzy The Bookworm” is on track to raise $15,000 for MS by April of this year

  • Community   Monday, March 13, 2023   Amanda Modaragamage
Isabella Martchenko, in her family home, reading "The Mouse Mansion '' by Karina Schaapman.

Isabella Martchenko, in her family home, reading "The Mouse Mansion '' by Karina Schaapman.

Canada has one of the world's highest rates of Multiple Sclerosis (MS), but Isabella (Izzy) Martchenko wants to change that and is starting to do so with her love of reading. 

Izzy has been reading between 50 and 75 books a year since she was 4 years old through the MS Read-a-thon program. Her goal this year is to raise $5,000 for the initiative, bringing her total to over $15,000 over the last three years.  

Diagnosed in 2018 with Multiple Sclerosis, Izzy’s mom, Lindsey Martchenko, was excited to learn that the MS Readathon was still running. She decided to sign Izzy up when she was only 4 years old. “I was excited because Izzy could raise money, and she loved books!” Martchenko states. Within the first year, Izzy had read 75 books and raised $10,000 for MS. She’s happy to be able to raise money for a good cause all while supporting her mom, “I’m extremely happy [to be involved], and I love books!” she says. 

For over 40 years, the MS Read-a-thon has promoted a love of reading with children across Canada. Their efforts to raise funds for technology and medical advancements for MS by getting children involved in fundraising and reading is a spectacular way to raise money in a fun way. Today, the MS Read-a-thon features an interactive online website where children can create profiles and characters and track their reading progress with a simple click.  

Currently, Izzy’s online character is a mermaid with purple hair, and she’s reached a new goal called “Super Hero Status” for kids who’ve raised over $500. “I’m going to raise money for MS for the rest of my life,” Izzy states when asked how long she plans to participate in the MS Read-a-thon. Registration is free for children to participate and get involved and can be done simply by visiting the website.

Izzy’s classroom at Bedford Public School was happy to learn of their classmate’s initiative and is excited to participate by reading and donating to Izzy during the month of April, right before the program's closing. The plan is to have a pajama day dedicated to Izzy’s fundraising efforts and have the children in class donate a few dollars if they can. 

Every year, the money raised goes directly towards advancements in preventative treatments, “We are seeing more and more treatments that help prevent the disease rather than treat the disease,” states Martchenko—a big step in the right direction for the treatment and cure for MS. 

If you are interested in donating to Izzy and helping her reach her $5,000 goal this year, you can donate online at