2017 Muskoka Novel Marathon raises $31,500 – and counting – for adult literacy programs


The writers of the 2017 Muskoka Novel Marathon, which wraps up tonight (July 17) at the Active Living Centre in Huntsville, have again raised an impressive preliminary amount for YMCA Simcoe-Muskoka Literacy Services in Huntsville: $31,539.50 .

Writers have until August 1 to chase down more donations, and past results show they likely will.  The final total will be revealed at the Novel Marathon’s wrap-up event on September 23, when Best Novel and other award winners will also be announced.

“The YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka’s partnership with the Muskoka Novel Marathon is invaluable and plays a large role in enabling us to ‘open our doors’  to our community to ensure that everyone has access to our literacy programs and services in Huntsville and the surrounding areas,” says Susan Kulkarni, Manager, Legacy/Corporate Fund Development for YMCA Simcoe-Muskoka.

“YMCA Community Literacy Programs provide much-needed skills such as academic upgrading, literacy, computer and English as a Second Language training, helping everyone learn, grow and thrive,” Kulkarni adds. “We owe a big thank you to our community and the Muskoka Novel Marathon for supporting us and allowing us to continue to invest in the health and well being of our community.”

Muskoka Novel Marathon convenor Karen Wehrstein put the result—a decrease from last year’s preliminary total by about $2,500—in perspective.  “Three years ago we were astonished and stunned to have raised $23,000,” she says.  “Anything over $30,000 is more than respectable, when you consider it’s being raised by only 40 people. We’re delighted to continue supporting the Y literacy programs to this degree.”

The 40 writers are competing for Best Novel in two categories plus other prizes. They have a total of 72 hours to complete their works, ending when the closing bell rings at 8 p.m. tonight.

The 2017 Remington Award for top fundraiser went to Lenore Butcher of Woodstock, Ontario, who raised $3,200.  Four other writers raised more than $1,500 each: Shellie Westlake of Branchton, Ontario, Rebecca Senese of Toronto, local Hunters Bay Radio personality Christine Cowley, and Pat Flewwelling of Oshawa.

Twelve writers, so far, have raised more than $1,000, thus earning a guaranteed spot at next year’s Marathon, with two more writers well within reach.

Fundraising prizes awarded to the top 28 fundraisers included a resort stayover, complimentary memberships in writers’ associations, life coaching sessions, free registration to local sports challenges, beautiful arts and craft items, show tickets, a wide range of gift certificates and many more items, all provided by generous local sponsors.

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