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World MS Day 2019 highlights!

World MS Day 2019 was fantastic. We put MS in the spotlight and spoke loud and clear about the unseen impact of MS around the world. You made international news, organised incredible events and got social media buzzing about #MyInvisibleMS. Together we showed the world how engaged, international, and creative the global MS community can be. Thank you for all of your incredible support!

This year, there were over 400 events in 79 countries – and we’re still counting! Read on to see highlights from World MS Day 2019. You can also see a collection of photos across the globe in the World MS Day Facebook Album.

Action for change 

World MS Day provides huge momentum for MS organisations to achieve positive changes to policies, practices and attitudes towards people affected by MS.

Here are just a few examples of how MS organisations used this year’s campaign to achieve ambitious advocacy goals.

Morocco

The Northern Morocco Association of Multiple Sclerosis, HANA Multiple Sclerosis Patients Association and The Moroccan Association for People Affected by MS used World MS Day as a platform to collect signatures for their ‘Access to Treatment’ advocacy campaign.

Saudi Arabia

Arfa MS Society in Saudi Arabia used the World MS Day toolkit on social media to appeal to their Ministry of Health for support and recognition. The Ministry of Health posted about the invisible symptoms of MS on Twitter.

France

The French League against Multiple Sclerosis organised a round table event with parliamentarians on the subject of MS and i.

Macedonia

The Deputy Minister for Health in Macedonia attended a World MS Day event organised by the National Association for MS in Macedonia. The Deputy Minister for Health pledged his support for people with MS in the Macedonian healthcare system.

Spain

The Spanish Prime Minister shared the #MyInvisibleMS campaign video on social media thanks to the efforts of the Spanish MS Society.

Montenegro

The MS Association of Montenegro held a panel discussion with representatives from the Montenegrin Ministry of Human and Minority Rights, the EU and the legal system. The meeting looked at MS through the lens of gender equality.

Bahrain

The Bahraini Ministry of Health endorsed the Bahrain MS Society’s World MS Day Event and posted about MS on World MS Day.

Chile

The MS Chile Corporation used World MS Day to advance their access to treatment campaign. The Chilean Treasury have now agreed to offer state funding to help people with MS pay for expensive treatments.

Film, performance and art

We loved seeing everyone get creative with this year’s campaign. Check out these powerful examples of film, performance and art for MS around the world.   

Australia

MS Australia created a beautiful animation, depicting one woman’s experience of the invisible symptoms of MS with powerful imagery.

Austria

The MS Society in Vienna hosted an art exhibition and a screening of ‘Balancing Act’, a film looking at the impact of MS on one family.

Belgium

The national Belgian MS Society held an art auction and created a moving film on one student’s experience of living with MS.

Portugal

The Portuguese MS Society created a travelling exhibition featuring 12 of the most common invisible symptoms of MS. The exhibition will be hosted by 12 different districts across Portugal.

Brazil

In São Paulo, Brazil, The Brazillian MS Association launched the documentary, ‘A Diary of Lidwina’ by Brazilian filmmaker Leanardo Gamber. This wonderful documentary is made up of a series of conversations with people with MS, their loved ones and doctors.

Luxembourg

In Luxembourg, MS Society of Luxembourg had a screening of the film ‘Small Grey Clouds’. It’s a beautifully shot film directed by German director, Sabine Merina, who was diagnosed with MS in 2011.

Saudi Arabia

The Saed Charity Association supported MS patients held a painting exhibition to raise awareness about MS.  

Poland

The Polish MS Society created a fantastic comic about the invisible symptoms of MS in the workplace.  The story helps tackle misconceptions by raising awareness of the unseen impact of MS. The comic shows that there are many ways for employers and colleagues to support people with MS in the workplace.

India

The MS Society of India organised ‘Seeing the Unseen’, a photography exhibition in Bengaluru depicting life with MS.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

MS Associations across Bosnia and Herzegovina came together to host World MS Day photography exhibitions across 4 cities. The aim of the exhibition was to highlight the personal impact of MS and to improve access to treatments. 

Community celebrations

The global MS community celebrated World MS Day in solidarity. From sing-alongs in Peru and talks in Kenya, to conferences in China and meetings in Palestine: you gathered together to show your support. Thank you for coming together to mark the day!

Slovakia

The MS Society of Slovakia organised three ‘Coffee with MS’ events. Healthcare professionals, carers and people with MS gathered together to talk about life with MS in a friendly atmosphere.

Kenya

The MS Association of Kenya celebrated World MS Day with music, community talks and a new logo.

Palestine

The MS Friends Society in Palestine gathered members, friends and family together to celebrate Ramadan Iftar and World MS Day.

Hungary

The Hungarian MS Patient Foundation organised a two day event for 200 people from across Hungary to come together for cultural programmes and sessions with health professionals. 

Uruguay 

The MS Society of Uruguay invited the public to ‘feel what I feel’ at their invisible symptom simulation tent. This interactive experience helped people understand some of the unseen challenges that people with MS face.

China

Members of MS Home in Beijing gathered together to launch a new MS fund in partnership with the Illness Challenge Foundation

Peru

The Peruvian MS Association celebrated a World MS Day to remember with reports of singing, laughter, dancing and fun.

Japan

The Japanese MS Society took World MS Day to the sunny streets of Tokyo. A team of 47 volunteers distributed 6,250 MS leaflets to the public to raise awareness in Japan.

South Korea

The Korean MS Society gathered together at a local park to raise awareness by sharing pictures and messages of hope with the public.

Malaysia

The Penang MS Support Group Association celebrated World MS Day alongside their 10th year anniversary. The celebrations included musical performance and stories from people with MS. 

Argentina

The Association for the Fight Against MS in Argentina created an invisible simulation cabin in Buenos Aires where visitors could experience 6 kinds of invisible symptoms.

Making headlines

This year World MS Day had fantastic coverage. Together, we have reached hundreds of thousands of people around the world!

Lebanon

ALSEP shone a spotlight on MS on national television with an interview about the #MyInvisibleMS campaign on MTV Lebanon. 

UK

World MS Day made it onto the front page of the UK’s leading disability and lifestyle magazine, Enable. Enable shared the #MyInvisibleMS toolkit and asked their audience to share their invisible MS journey.

Bolivia

The President of the Bolivian MS Society went live on ‘Contacto Bolivia’ in a radio interview about MS. 

Yemen

The MS Society of Yemen’s World MS Day event was covered on national radio and local papers like ‘News Yemen’

Namibia

MS Namibia got some excellent coverage for World MS Day, including an article about World MS Day into the Namibia Economist.

Kuwait

The MS Association in Kuwait’s event was highlighted on national television alongside an interview with the President of the Association about MS and the #MyInvisibleMS campaign.

Lighting up the world

Famous landmarks across the world were illuminated in true World MS Day style.

Chile

8 buildings across 6 cities were illuminated in Chile as part of the MS Chile Corporation’s #IluminEMosChile campaign.

Scotland

MS Society Scotland coloured landmarks across the country orange, including the Scottish ‘Kelpies’ and the SSE Hydro.

Canada

Throughout the month of May, the Canadian MS Society have been illuminating Canadian landmarks, like the CN Tower, red.

Greece

The Central Bridge of Trikala was illuminated and adorned with orange balloons and the Greek MS Society continued their annual tradition of lighting up the White Tower in Thessaloniki.

Panama

MS Panama lit up monuments across Panama City, including the Global Bank, the Panama Canal Administration Building and the Mayor’s Office.

Push it to the limit

You crossed the finish line, walked the extra mile and embraced the great outdoors for MS. Here are some of the top World MS Day challenges this year.

Egypt

More than 300 people attended MS Care Egypt’s World MS Day bike ride. After the cycling, healthcare professionals gave a talk and 3 people living with MS shared their stories. 

Italy

The Italian MS society created #FingerRun, a digital marathon to support scientific research on MS. The aim of the challenge is for players around the world to travel 42km in 12 hours by playing the game online. Players can participate in the race with hundreds of others whilst raising money for MS research. 

Slovenia

The Ljubljana branch of the Slovenian MS Association organised an ‘MS Walk/Drive’. The Honorary patron of the event was President of the Republic. Participants and special guests were greeted by the President’s cabinet staff in front of the Presidential Palace and walked 1.6km to a Swiss cottage in the Ljubljana forest. 

Macedonia

The Macedonian MS Association organised a ‘Run for MS’ event at the Skopje Marathon.

Croatia 

MS Team Croatia organised an MS walk in Zagreb at Bundek lake. The event also included a talk, a Pilates session, and even a DJ set.

Research and education

Many of you used World MS Day 2019 to learn more about research and life with MS. Here are some memorable research and education highlights.  

Sweden

Neuroförbundet in Sweden organised a series of lectures on MS research and podcasts on life with MS.

Lebanon

The Society of Lebanese Friends of Patients with Multiple Sclerosis partnered with the Lebanese Society of Neurology to host a Q&A session with MS doctors as well as a Life Coach seminar for people with MS.

Latvia

The Latvian Multiple Sclerosis Association held a series of seminars on family planning, symptoms and wellbeing for people with MS, carers and health care professionals.

Ireland

MS Ireland partnered with Neuro-Physiotherapists and Community workers to host an information event on managing the invisible symptoms of MS.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong Multiple Sclerosis Society produced a series of educational videos on invisible symptoms and life with MS.  

The Netherlands

The Dutch Stichting MS Research organised an informative day for people with MS regarding the state of MS Research in the Netherlands. Important part of the day was ‘meet the scientist’ where people with MS and MS Researchers shared their ideas and experiences.

Famous shout-outs

American actress Selma Blair posted about World MS Day on Instagram. The Nobel Prize marked the day by posting about Physics Laureate, Michael Kosterlitz. Indian model and actor, Milind Soman shared a video message in support of World MS Day. Spanish singer song writer David Bisbal published an awareness raising message. Pakistani celebrity, Iman Aly, posted a selfie about her invisible MS symptoms and French actress Virginie Desarnauts (ARSEP Foundation ambassador) sent a video in support of #MyInvisibleMS. A big thank you to our famous friends who helped spread the message!

Thank you!

This year’s World MS Day has given us so much to be proud of. Your diverse approach to this year’s theme helped to make the campaign so vibrant and compelling. From research seminars and meetings with decision makers to fun get-togethers among communities of people affected by MS. As for online activities, it’s been fantastic to see so many people engaging with the #MyInvisibleMS toolkit. Thousands of you created your own poster with the new World MS Day poster maker tool. The My Invisible MS message has reached people affected by MS all over the world.

Thank you and congratulations everyone on a fantastic World MS Day 2019!

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