Posted on August 17th, 2012
World MS Day was definitely a global affair in 2012, with 66 countries participating in events as well as hundreds of people who took part in our “1000 faces of MS” campaign. People with MS from around the world led the way in raising awareness and reached millions of people through their campaigning activities.
The Indian MS Societies were creative with their campaigning activities this year. The Delhi chapter of the organisation used beautiful puppets clothed in Indian silk to tell the story of someone living with MS, to an audience at the Select City Mall. Elsewhere in the country over 150 people met from the Bengaluru chapter at Narayana Hrudayalaya in Bangalore to celebrate the day, and formed a human chain of solidarity.
In Malaysia around 300 people took part in “I walk for MS” through Titiwangsa Lake Park in Kuala Lumpur, which was attended by members of the public, neurologists and famous faces including model Amber Chia. Further people were reached during a mini carnival which was held in a local Mall over the 12th and 13th May. In Japan, volunteers took to the streets of Tokyo with flyers, banners and bright orange t-shirts, to raise awareness of the day.
Australia and Oceana
The Australian “Kiss goodbye to MS” campaign was bigger than ever this year, with regional chapters of the Australian MS Society taking part around the country.
In Adelaide, Kirsten Alderson and her husband undertook a cycle ride every day throughout May to raise awareness of the campaign.
In Brisbane major landmarks including the city hall and Wintergarden were lit up with red lights, the symbolic colour of the campaign. Across the country women and men sported bright red lipstick to raise awareness of world MS Day and spread the “Kiss goodbye to MS” message. As a result of all their activities MS Australia reported that they raised over half a million dollars towards their MS research.
Central America and the Caribbean
Honduras participated with World MS Day for the first time this year, by holding a celebration in the Central Mall in San Pedro Sula. There were performances from several dance groups of traditional and modern dances, and life testimonies from MS Patients. Funds were raised over the day to support the ongoing work of Honduran MS Society La Fundación Esclerosis Múltiple Amor (FEMA) in the country.
In Cuba, a new twinning project between FELEM Spain and MS Cuba was celebrated in conjunction with World MS Day, and featured a performance by Comedian Omar Franco.
Throughout Europe world MS day activities were similarly varied and inspirational. In Belgium, new interactive websites were launched with the aim of educating children and young people about MS and how it can be treated.
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Medical lectures which focussed particularly on the impact of MS on young women took place during May. After the lectures, which were given in Tulza, entertainment was provided by singer songwriter Jasmin Mag.
A poster campaign around the theme “1000 faces of MS” took place throughout May in Bulgaria, culminating on the 30th with a press conference and lecture in Sofia. The posters feature photos and stories from a spectrum of people in the country who have MS.
An eye-catching campaign to raise awareness of MS was carried out by the MS Society of Switzerland. Stalls were set up in cities across the whole country, where volunteers distributed leaflets and information about MS, and also skipping ropes. Passersby were encouraged to skip to show their solidarity with people with MS, and the ropes symbolised the everyday barriers which people with MS experience. All in all, an impressive 7,211 jumps were recorded.
In Cyprus, a week of activities received high profile attention, including the attendance of the First Lady of Cyprus Elsie Christofia to a World MS Day event held in Nicosia and that of ministry officials including the Minister for Health Dr Stavros Malas at scientific meetings held on the 2nd and 3rdof June.
Middle East and North Africa
In Palestine an event was held on the 24th May at the Multiple Sclerosis Patients and Friends Society – Palestine headquarters in Nablus city. In attendance were people with MS, as well as national and local press, and talks were given by Palestinian ministers of health and social care.
The Tunisian association of multiple sclerosis patients (ATSEP) opened a brand new treatment clinic on World MS Day this year, which will work to provide support to some of the 6000 people in the country who have been diagnosed with MS. In conjunction with the opening, an awareness raising and information event was hosted by Dr. Debouverie, the dean of the Nancy medical centre. In attendance on the day were members of the press and several leading Tunisian neurologists and medical practitioners including Professor Faysal Henteti, head of neurology at the Hospital of Neurology in Mongi Hamida.
North America and Canada
In Canada the CN tower in Toronto and iconic Niagara falls were lit up with red lights, in support of World MS Day this year. The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, whose trademark colour is red, were delighted with the dramatic effect which was achieved with the support of the Niagara Parks Commission and Niagara Falls Illumination Board. The Society also carried out their annual MS Global Dinner party, which this year was a VIP event held at Winnipeg art gallery. The evening featured Caribbean Music and a charity auction hosted by Hot 103’s radio personality Ace Burpee.
In Colombia the Association of anti MS (ALEM) organised several World MS Day activities this year, including an event hosted at the Jardin Botanico (botanical garden) in Medellin.
The event was attended by people with MS and their families and friends, with a focus on networking and awareness raising, and talks were given on MS and its impact. There were also activities for attendees to take part in such as bingo, and later on a picnic in the beautiful grounds of the garden.
In Kwazulu Natal, South Africa the message this year was to go orange. In WOW (Wear Orange Wednesday) staff from the province’s top 100 businesses were encouraged to dress in orange for World MS Day, with participants sporting everything from orange socks to bright orange lipstick and making a donation to the organisation. The day was organised in order to raise funds for Multiple Sclerosis South Africa (MSSA) who want to build a haven for people with MS that live on their own and provide support to carers.