Portugal go all out with WMSD Day 2012
The Portuguese MS Society (SPEM) had a busy schedule of events as they promoted world MS Day this year. Activities kicked off on the 12th May and carried out across 6 cities in the country: Évora, Faro, Leiria, Lisboa, Porto and Setúbal. The first event launched the “1000 faces of MS” campaign, and saw supporters and people with MS meeting together to celebrate World MS Day. These meetings continued to take place throughout May around the country, and resulted in some new friendships and networks created between patients, healthworkers and supporters, as you can see from the photos above.
From the 22nd to the 25th May an art exhibition entitled “Fernando (E)sclerose (M)últipla Pessoa”, was held at São Bento Palace, the home of the Portuguese government. The exhibition featured artwork by MS patients of the Occupational Activity Center (OAC) and live painting demonstrations from the artists. Two members of parliament, Elza Pais and Paulo Pisco attended the opening ceremony and welcomed board members from SPEM and the of course the artists. The event was held to raise awareness of the needs of and provision for people with MS within the country.
On the 30th May SPEM opened its headquarters to members of the local community with a day of celebrations. A poetry recital was given by members of OAC followed by musical entertainment from guitarist Luísa Amaro. Later, Melanie Oliveira da Silva who has MS and was selected as torchbearer for the Olympics gave her testimony, and the day was rounded off with a chorus of “happy birthday” and a slice of World MS Day cake.
Elsewhere in the country, an educational session was given about Pregnancy and MS in partnership with the local Hospital, the Hospital do Espírito Santo de Évora. A fundraising event was held in Faro at the Mercado Municipal to raise money to build new treatment facilities in the area and In Leiria a puppet show was given to local elementary school children, entitled “Benjamin: My Mum is Special”, which helped open up discussion amongst the children about MS and its impact.