The Union of Estonian MS Societies hosted World MS Day (WMSD) 2012 at a shopping centre in the capital city of Tallinn.

The day opened with the unveiling of the ‘Under Pressure’ exhibition which had been shown at the European Parliament earlier in the month of May. The exhibition is a series of artistic photographs taken by award winning European photographers. Each photograph depicts the experiences of people living with MS across Europe. The project- which was commissioned by the European MS Platform (EMSP) and funded by the European Union- aims to challenge preconceptions about MS and raise awareness about the disease.

Marilyn Smith the coordinator of the Under Pressure project attended the opening of the event. In an interview with Martin Banks from TheParliament [LINK] she stated;

“I’ve been very moved and inspired by the positive attitude people with MS involved in the project are able to maintain, regardless of their situation. I hope the images we’ve gathered will not only challenge people’s perception of MS, but that it will prompt decision-makers to take action.”

More than 700 members of the public attended the exhibition which aimed to raise awareness of what it’s like to live with MS for people in Europe- including Estonia.

World MS Day 2012 - Estonia

World MS Day 2012 - Estonia

Merike Martinson, Deputy Mayor of Tallinn gave a supportive speech at the event opening. Pille-Katrin Levin, Chairwoman of the Union of Estonian Societies stated;

“We were extremely glad to have the author of this magnificent project, Marilyn Smith, with us for the opening on 30 May. I’m also grateful to our members and volunteers, who passed out information pamphlets about MS and encouraged shoppers to participate in ‘hidden symptom’ simulations to better understand life with MS.”

Shoppers were challenged to play Harry Kestlane at a game of chess. Harry is a trained cartographer who was blinded by a MS relapse several years ago. Using his memory and mapping skills Harry checked the progress of the chess game when playing others.

Chessboard challenge

Chessboard challenge

Raising money for the society was also an important objective on the day. Badges were sold to the public to raise funds for MS research whilstspecialist nurses provided medical information to the public. WMSD fundraising activities also took place in the second largest city of Tartu.

World MS Day badges

Fundraising badges