EMD Serono is supporting World MS Day, an initiative created by the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation (MSIF) to promote solidarity and raise awareness about multiple sclerosis (MS) worldwide, by joining efforts to make the disease more “visible.”
Known as Merck KGaA outside the U.S. and Canada, EMD Serono is supporting “My Invisible MS” (#MyInvisibleMS) with initiatives of its own. “My Invisible MS” is this year’s theme for World MS Day, May 30, chosen by MSIF to raise awareness of the less obvious MS symptoms experienced by patients and their impact on quality of life.
MS On My Mind (MSOMM), which is part of the company’s global #MSInsideOut campaign, is one of these initiatives. MSOMM is a worldwide campaign focused on the emotional toll the disease has on patients, their families, and caregivers. The company is also working with the MS community to develop resources and other content of help in everyday life.
Those participating in the campaign are asked to complete the sentence: “MS is on my mind when…” Replies, which address issues that range from fatigue and cognition to concerns for the future, are shared with the MS community through personal stories and artwork.
“Our company is deeply committed to MS and better understanding both the visible and unseen ways the disease can affect patients,” Andrew Paterson, global head of Neurology & Immunology at Merck KGaA, said in a press release.
“We are inspired by the patients and caregivers who have advanced this understanding and who made aspects of their MS visible by sharing their experience,” Paterson added.
This year, the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC) Annual Meeting in Seattle was held during the last week of May (May 28 – June 1), coinciding with the World MS Day. At the meeting, EMD Serono showcased some of the paintings and murals created by Lydia Emily Archibald, creative director of MSOMM and an MS patient.
Archibald is using her talents as a street artist, muralist, and oil painter to express these “invisible” symptoms and advocate for greater understanding.
“Although we all have different day-to-day lives and responsibilities, we are impacted by MS in very similar ways,” Archibald said. “MS might strike in the form of frustration and struggle yet trigger moments of sincere gratitude and accomplishment. All MSOMM submissions to date have been equally compelling and relatable. I am honored to have had the opportunity to bring peoples’ stories to life.”
The company is also supporting MSIF’s Informed Decision-Making Program by donating €1 (about $1.12) — and up to €50,000 — for every shared social media post containing the hashtags #MSInsideOut and #MyInvisibleMS through Saturday, June 8.
The program supports several initiatives by MS groups worldwide that work to inform and educate people living with MS, helping them to make the best possible decisions in addressing the disease and going about their lives.