Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, there are many ways to participate in World MS Day 2020 on May 30, set aside to raise awareness about the neurodegenerative disorder that affects more than 2.3 million people globally.
Organized by the MS International Federation (MSIF), the event brings together the global multiple sclerosis (MS) community to share stories, educate, raise funds, and encourage each other. Each campaign is developed in collaboration with an international group of member representatives; current ones are from the U.S., the U.K., Ireland, Argentina, Spain, Greece, Australia, India, and Egypt.
The campaign theme through 2022 is “connections,” as in self-connection, building community connection, and connections to quality care. The tagline is “I Connect, We Connect,” and the campaign hashtag, to be used with campaign social media postings, is #MSConnections.
In part, the focus on community connections addresses social barriers that often leave MS patients feeling lonely and socially isolated, conditions that may be exacerbated by the pandemic, which has forced so many people indoors.
“It’s an opportunity to advocate for better services, celebrate support networks, and champion self-care,“ the MSIF states on its World MS Day webpage.
World MS Day activities have taken place throughout May and will continue into early June. MSIF suggestions include: organizing a virtual event or fundraiser; getting World MS Day covered in local and national news; and contacting lawmakers about the importance of quality MS care.
MSIF has created a toolkit available in English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, and Arabic that supporters can use when adapting in-person activities to digital because of COVID-19 restrictions. The toolkit includes an event overview called “Campaign Essentials,” posters, an email signature, headers, an MS Connections hashtag, shareable social media tiles, and World MS Day logos. It also includes a 19-page MS Connections Handbook, which introduces everything supporters need, in detail, for a successful World MS Day.
Supporters also are encouraged to share with the global community their stories about MS. Submissions will be featured on the MSIF social media wall, along with all posts about World MS Day. And, through the World MS Day Map, participants may share activities and personal narratives, celebrate news coverage success, or find an MS resource. Submissions may be in any language.
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