Five-year-old Stratford girl reads 750 books in a year to help MS Society

A five-year-old Stratford girl has been called a “micro-influencer” by the MS Society of Canada.

Not only did Izzy Martchenko read 750 books for the MS Read-a-thon last year, she also raised $6,500.

“She's micro in size,” said Kyla Arsenault, senior director of community fundraising for the MS Society of Canada. “But she’s really influencing other kids to get involved and read.”

In an interview with CTV, Izzy explained she read simply for one person.

“Mommy. Because of mommy,” said Izzy.

Izzy’s mother has Multiple Sclerosis, which is a chronic disease that affects the nervous system. 

Lindsey Martchenko said it started off with little dizzy spells, and progressed until she found the right medication.

“It was almost as if I was like a stroke victim in the sense that I couldn't write during these little episodes or speak correctly that sort of thing,” said Martchenko.

Martchenko said she’s open with Izzy about having MS, which made Izzy want to take part in the organization’s read-a-thon campaign last year.

“She would just read voraciously and I said ‘why are you reading so many books? Like you don't have to read so many.’ And she'd be like 'but then I'll get more donations,'” explained Martchenko.

Izzy’s efforts have been recognized by the MS Society and the organization has made her a poster child for this year’s campaign.

“We know kids have had such a hard time through the pandemic. They've been pulled out of school, and back into school. And she's just been a shining example of a kid doing great work,” added Arsenault.

“She gave the community something positive to focus on,” said Izzy’s mother proudly.

“When we were in a dark time in terms of fundraising and donations. She was a light at the end of that tunnel basically.”

According to Arsenault the MS Society of Canada raised $150,000 in last year's read-at-thon campaign. This year the goal is $150,000.

Izzy has a goal to read 150 books. She acknowledged that's much less than last year's goal, but she plans to read more challenging books now that she's a year older and a better reader.