25th July 2023

2023 Highlights

2023 MS Connections Year Highlights

The global MS community went above and beyond this World MS Day. It was the final year of the MS Connections campaign, and together we were unstoppable. We championed community, self-care and better services for everyone affected by MS. There were conferences, flash mobs, murals, and parliamentary motions about MS. This year 127 countries took part in World MS Day, more than ever before. Here are some of this year’s highlights…



The Associação Brasileira de Esclerose Múltipla had a jam-packed World MS Day schedule full of exciting events. There was free access to a theme park, an Elton John impersonator, a robot DJ set and more.    

Robot DJ Set for MS in Brazil. Image by the Associação Brasileira de Esclerose Múltipla.


The Multiple Sklerose Gesellschaft Osterreich ran a meet-up for young people living with MS this World MS Day at a bar in the capital of Vienna.  There were further gatherings online with lectures from neurologists and the latest in MS research.

South Africa

Who doesn’t love a good view? Especially one from Table Mountain. In Cape Town the MS Society of Africa organised a mountain top picnic with people living with MS, neurologists and loved ones. A wonderful MS gathering above the clouds.

Hong Kong

The Hong Kong MS Society (HKMSS) organised a Health Talk and Activity Day, then a Art Jam Fun Day. More than 50 patients, caretakers and healthcare professionals came together and shared a cozy Saturday afternoon. There was a seminar on MS treatment, stories from people with MS followed by a tea break and a laughter workshop.

Hong Kong MS Society organise a Health Talk and Activity Day. Image by HKMSS.


The MS Society of India organised a vibrant mix of in person events across the country. There were awareness seminars in Mumbai, panel discussions in Hyderabad, drama sketches in Chennai and much more. Across the country, volunteers and healthcare workers partnered together to put MS in the spotlight.

MSSI organise a panel discussion in Hyderabad. Image by MSSI.


The Japan MS Society organised an online yoga workshop that was accessible all. Viewers could follow the class from the comfort of their homes with the option to donate to MS research.


The Asociación de Pacientes con Esclerosis Múltiple y Enfermedades Desmielinizantes (APEMED) held several community gatherings in local hospitals. There were MS seminars, dancing shows and violin performances to raise awareness. Here is a brilliant photo of the community gathering together on World MS Day. 

The MS community gather together in Paraguay. Image by APEMED.


The Romanian MS Association and the Bihor MS Foundation organized an MS picnic on World MS Day at a rehabilitation centre for 40 people.


The Hungarian MS Foundation rallied 170 people with MS and their families together for a day of activities. There was a program of talks delivered by neurolgists and rehabilitation specialists. The lectures were followed by an afternoon of culture, with a sight-seeing tour around the capital and museum visits.

South Korea

The Korean Multiple Sclerosis Society organised a fun meet-up for people with MS in Seoul. There was a team quiz, award ceremony and even dance flash mob. Wish we could have made it!

Making Headlines

World MS Day made global news with articles in Bahrain, Indonesia, Luxembourg and TV broadcasts in Argentina, Georgia. Watch the clip below to see a powerful television interview on ‘NBC Digital News’ with members of MS Namibia. MS was discussed on radio in Ecuador, France, and Tunisia. MS Organisations like MSMakedonija in the North Republic of Macedonia organised Press Conferences to raise awareness. Science Magazine  published an article about EBV and MS, whilst BBC News shared a personal account of MS from Brazil.  Together, the global MS community put MS in the spotlight with 1,416 items of international press coverage – what a result!

MS Namibia feature interview on NBC Digital News


World MS Day is used as a tool to engage world leaders and drive legislative change for MS. This year, decision makers showed support across the world. There was acknowledgement from Ministries of Health in Spain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Canada.  The Mayor of Athens, Mr. Κώστας Μπακογιάννης, shared a moving video message for the MS community in Greece. City governments recognised the importance of World MS Day in Chile, France and beyond. In the capital, the Puerto Rican House of Representatives commemorated World MS Day together, wearing orange ribbons during their legislative work.

Read on for more examples for how MS organisations used World MS Day as a platform to connect with decision makers.

Puerto Rican House of Representatives commemorate World MS Day with orange ribbons. Image by the Cámara de Representantes Puerto Rico


MS Care Egypt partnered with the government in an exciting World MS Day event initiated by the Ministry of Health.  MS Care contributed to the choice of speakers and discussion topics. There were important conversations about current work to support the local MS community, including the advancement of telemedicine and MS training for medical staff.  MS Care’s Vice President Nashwa Rabie delivered a speech on improving access to MS treatments across the national health care system. People living MS from the organisation also shared stories about life with MS with the audience.

World MS Day event iniated by the Egyptian Ministry of Health in partnership with MS Care Egypt. Image by the وزارة الصحة والسكان المصرية


MS Australia used the MS Connections campaign to advocate for more MS nurses. The campaign reached Parliament House in Australia, where supporting MPs put forward a motion on World MS Day to raise awareness about MS nurse care in Australia and increase the number of MS nurses across the country. 


The Cyprus MS Association ran a Press Conference at Journalist House in Nicosia with government representatives, highlighting the big issues facing local people with MS.

Press Conference with government representatives in Nicosia. Image by The Cyprus MS Association.

MS Heart Challenge

The MS Heart is a symbol of solidarity for everyone affected by MS. This year we ran a MS Heart Challenge, inviting World MS Day supporters to share photos of MS hearts somewhere special. The global MS community took on the challenge, sending pictures from iconic locations like the Lotus Temple in New Delhi and Niagara Falls in the US. There were snaps from favourite escapes, exercise classes and MS events. It was an amazing show of solidarity with hearts shared from 42 countries on the World MS Day map.  You can see all the winning entries here.

A group of MS Hearts next to a Mikoshi, a portable shrine used during Japanese festivals or 祭, ‘Matsuri’ in Tokyo. Thank you to the Japan MS Society! Image by JMSS.

Getting Creative


The first International Art Competition for World MS Day showcased incredible talent across the MS global MS community. Open to all people living with and affected by MS, participants used different mediums to express experiences of MS and the connections that matter most. Over 200 entries from 54 different countries were submitted. You can see the winners in our live 3D exhibition and explore the gallery of all entries.

‘Painting’ by Doaa Mahdi from Iraq


Members of the The Asociación de Lucha Contra la Esclerosis Múltiple (ALCEM) created a MS Heart mural outside Hospital Cullet in Santa Fe, Argentina. The mural made local news, raising awareness of MS with brilliant coverage on Telefe Santa Fe.  Watch the clip below, featuring interviews with people living with MS and local hospital staff. ALCEM also organised a photography competition asking people with MS to share special moments that make them feel connected.


The Ligue Nationale Belge de la SEP/ Nationale Belgische Multiple Sclerose Liga put a spotlight on powerful MS stories in the art world. There was a book signing for ‘Le Passager’, a comic by Cyrielle Pisapia, about a young women diagnosed with MS. Then it was off to the movies with a screening of Olivier Babinet’s film ‘Normal’ about young carers and MS.


Esclerosis Múltiple España (EME) used illustrations to raise awareness. The MS comic by Agustina Guerrero created a buzz on social media, highlighting the importance of community and opportunities for people with MS.


The Global MS Choir returned to perform a special rendition of ‘Stand By Me’ by Ben. E. King. This year over 80 participants from 27 countries took part in the choir. We had choir members from every corner of the world, including Brazil, Finland, Singapore, South Africa and beyond! You can watch the performance and learn more here.

United Arab Emirates

The MS Society in United Arab Emirates (UAE) created a virtual reality space on the Metaverse for people to learn more about MS.  The metaverse is a virtual space in which users can interact with others in a computer-generated environment. The space included a World MS Day exhibition featuring some of the Art Competition finalists, plus lecture theatre for live talks about MS.


The Asociación Esclerosis Múltiple Perú (ESMUP) organised an evening of music and poetry to bring supporters together for World MS Day.

United States

A special MS stamp was created in the US by MS Focus and the US postal service. Weather presenter Janice Dean highlighted this special World MS Day tribute live on Fox News.

Screenshot from Janice Dean’s Twitter profile


Hundreds of you made your own campaign art using the MS Connections poster maker. Here are some of your wonderful creations from across the world.

Lighting up the World

Landmarks across the globe were illuminated as a beacon of hope this World MS Day. Look at these photos of skylines aglow for MS.

Latin America

More than 15 countries across Latin America united in the fifth year of the ‘#IluminEMosLatinoamerica’ campaign. Buildings were cast in orange light to raise awareness about ‘Esclerosis Múltiple’ on World MS Day. 

Renacer share MS hearts on the illuminated Palacio Consistorial de Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. Image by Renacer.


Iconic buildings were illuminated for MS Ireland’s annual campaign to raise awareness for the over 9,000 people living with multiple sclerosis in Ireland! Look at this fantastic photo of Rock of Cashel lit up for #WorldMSDay

Rock of Cashel illuminated for World MS Day. Image by MS Ireland.


What an incredible photo collage from MS Canada, capturing buildings shining a vibrant red for MS as night fell across Canada. 

Skylines across Canada shine bright for MS. Image by MS Canada.


Poland was glowing bright for MS thanks to the Polskie Towarzystwo Stwardnienia Rozsianego – look at the Palace of Culture in Warsaw shining in solidarity. 

The Palace of Culture in Warsaw glows bright for MS. Image by the Polskie Towarzystwo Stwardnienia Rozsianego


The Italian air force saluted those affected by MS by illuminating its headquarters on 30 May. 

The Italian air force illuminate it’s headquaters for MS. Image by Aeronautica Militare.

Research and Education

Sub-Saharan Africa

Healthcare professionals across Sub-Saharan Africa attended an MS conference in Nairobi to discuss important MS topics and learn from one another. There were talks on MS diagnosis, treatment and time to share and reflect on regional challenges with MS.


The Slovak MS Association organised an MS conference named ‘Sunflower day’ after the flower it uses to symbolise MS. The conference featured MS lectures, workshops and exercise sessions.

‘Sunflower Day’ conference. Image by the Slovak MS Association.

Saudi Arabia

The ARFA Multiple Sclerosis Society hosted the first Saudi MS Conference in history with the support of Prince Saud bin Naif bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Governor of Eastern Province. Healthcare workers, MS researchers and advocates assembled to share presentations and increase understandings of MS.

Website for the first Saudi MS Conference in history


The Taiwan MS Association organised a brilliant event to mark World MS Day 2023. With lectures and key note speakers on MS, the seminar in Taipei City was not to be missed!


Guadeloupe participated for the first time in World MS Day history with a pioneer MS conference on the archipelago and an article documenting this special moment.

Pioneer MS Conference in Guadaloupe. Image from Journal France-Antilles Guadeloupe


The Latvian MS Association organised a World MS Day conference for people with MS. There were sessions on mindfulness and self-care with everyday tips for living with MS. There were also seminars on MS and fertility with healthcare experts available to answer questions. 


Esclerosis Múltiple Argentina (EMA) organized a week of talks, to deepen public understanding of MS. There were introductions to MS and its impact on different life stages. MS specialists gave talks on rehabilitation, the power of connection and new MS research. You can catch up with the discussion live on 30 May below.


The Ukrainian community of people with MS marked World MS Day with a panel discussion attended by people with MS, healthcare professionals and the Ministry of Health in Ukraine. Shout out to UCMS “Українська спільнота людей з розсіяним склерозом” for organising this important event


The Yemeni Society for the Care of Multiple Sclerosis Patients created information sheets about MS for doctors and neurologists. The organisation shared the resources with healthcare workers to raise awareness about MS.

Pushing the Limits

You set new goals, ran the distance, and crossed oceans for MS this World MS Day. Check out these courageous World MS Day challenges to fundraise and raise awareness.

Central America and the Caribbean

Did you hear about the virtual race for MS across central America and the Caribbean? The Fundación de Centroamérica y Caribe de Esclerosis Múltiple (FUCACEM) and the Foro Centroamericano y del Caribe de Esclerosis Múltiple (FOCEM) organised an online fundraiser, the ‘Carrera Virtual’. Participants crossed 3,720 kilometres to raise awareness and funds for MS across Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and El Salvador. A remarkable achievement by all the organisations involved, including RENACER, ASOCOEM, FEMA, ASHOEM, ANPEMUFA, ASOGEM, ANEM, ASNEM and EM Cuba.

Poster for the Carrera Virtual from FUCACEM and FOCEM

The Greek MS Society pushed limits this World MS Day with numerous adventures. There were treks for MS up mount Olympus and hikes along the Portaikos River. Let’s not forget about Sailing Therapy initiative in collaboration with ‘Oceans of Hope’. A challenge where people with MS were taught how to sail on the waters of the Aegeon to build community, challenge stigma around MS and improve quality of life. 

Participants and supporters of the Oceans of Hope Challenge. Photo by the Greek MS Society

The May 50K

The May 50K had an incredible running with over £950,000 raised by 11,289 global participants this year. Starting on the 1 of May, participants from all over the world challenged themselves to run, walk or roll 50km (or above) to raise vital funds for MS. The money raised helps support people affected by MS around the world, alongside funding life-changing research into the prevention, treatment and finding a cure for MS.


The Udruga MS Tim Hrvatska organised an MS walk, across 15 locations throughout Croatia with the slogan Every Step Counts. Participants counted their steps in support of members unable to walk because of MS. The idea being they would walk for them in spirit.

Video capturing this year’s MS Walk created and organised by the Udruga MS Tim Hrvatska

This is just a snapshot of the fantastic events that took place. You can help us capture more highlights by emailing us at [email protected]

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