World MS Day Continues Online With Connections Theme for 2021

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by Hawken Miller |

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World MS Day

World MS Day, created by the MS International Federation and its members in 2009 to bring together the multiple sclerosis (MS) community, will this year continue online its 2020–2022 theme of improving connections to break down social barriers.

The global MS campaign, featuring virtual events and social media happenings, continues throughout May and early June, with the day itself falling on May 30.

The day and related virtual programs will help bring awareness to the estimated 2.5 million people worldwide affected by the progressive neurodegenerative condition.

The tagline for 2021 is “I Connect, We Connect,” using the hashtag #MSConnections.

Advocates and MS organizations are encouraged to choose a variety of angles and goals for the wide-ranging theme, such as bringing social barriers to light, building communities, encouraging self-care and healthy living, lobbying legislators, and connecting patients to research.

A group of representatives from India, Tunisia, Ireland, Argentina, Slovakia, Spain, the U.K., Greece, Australia, and the U.S. are responsible for developing a new campaign every year, however, from 2020-2022, the connections theme will remain. In 2019, the tagline was “My Invisible MS,” and in 2018, it was “Bringing Us Closer.”

World MS Day encourages people to post their stories on social media and urges them to connect their hands in a “heart” formation to symbolize togetherness in photos and videos. An #MSConnections wall will include all posts with that hashtag and an interactive map will allow participants across the globe to capture World MS Day happenings.

Free graphics for social media, live-streamed events and email signatures, as well as a one-sheet explaining the campaign are provided by World MS Day. Part of its website allows participants to create a poster customized with a first name, photo, and country.

Throughout May and early June, World MS Day is sharing stories on social media of people living with MS from around the world. One video profiles David Tscharke, an MS researcher from Australian National University who also has the disease.

“I’ve seen discoveries turn into treatments, and I know that the pipeline holds hope and that helps me manage the uncertainty I have,” Tscharke said in the video.   

The 47 member organizations that are part of the MS International Federation also will be involved with World MS Day activities. Some have planned their own programs, while others will be participating in the broader celebration organized by the federation.

MS Australia, for example, launched its own animated short and events page. It also will host the yearly virtual fundraising challenge The May 50K, in which participants can pledge to run 50 kilometers (31 miles) and raise money for the cause.

On the other side of the world in Finland, the organization Neuroliitto will be hosting an online lecture, an MS remote cafe for young adults, and an Instagram live later this month. Stories about three working adults with MS are featured on its website.

A virtual concert at 2 p.m. British Summer Time (9 a.m. EST) May 30 will stream live on YouTube and Facebook, with musical guests from the disease community. Among the performers are those from the Global MS Choir

“The event will bring the global MS community together on World MS Day in solidarity and celebration,” states the World MS Day website.

According to the World MS Day Facebook page, which has more than 100,000 followers, people in 90 countries participated in various awareness events last year.

World MS Day supporters include Biogen, Bristol Myers Squibb, Janssen, Merck, Novartis, Roche, Sanofi Genzyme, and Viatris.

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