Ok, we’ll admit it – this isn’t exactly a festive holiday or reason for gift giving, but World MS Day is coming up on 28 May and for millions of people around the world, it marks an important moment of reflection, advocacy and action. Have you taken any time to reflect on this year’s World MS Day and ways that you could help and join in?
For one day, local MS Societies and MS related organizations across the globe will be hosting lectures, media events, cultural activities and information gatherings to help raise awareness of multiple sclerosis. From large events to small individual efforts, every action plays a part in this one-day global movement. The more voices, the louder the message.
Access. It’s a broad term, but for those living with MS, it may be something you find yourself thinking about quite a bit. Think about your life, or about the challenges that other people living with MS face. There are so many access issues that over 2.3 million people living with MS must deal with each day.
From navigating the subway to having to drive for hours to the nearest MRI machine, barriers for people with MS are all around us. Access to employment opportunities, or even communication barriers that impact relationships, these are just some examples of the many challenges beyond the physical symptoms of the disease.
These are the subtle realities that need to be communicated. Educating the public, advocating and informing lawmakers and building awareness is one way to promote better understanding.
Perhaps you are a writer, quilter or artist displaying your work, or fundraising, or handing out fliers. There are so many ways to participate and help spread the word. Contact your local MS society and find out about events or activities that are being planned in your area.
Have you ever wished that people better understood what you were dealing with, or how you are feeling? World MS Day is an opportunity to talk about these issues and be heard. What do you wish could be different? Submit your wish and take part in the World MS Day One Day campaign. Share it across your social network on 28 May and help inform friends and family about how you feel. Your wish could be featured as part of the World MS Day Wish Wall and your message could help to educate others.
Awareness and quality of life issues can vary greatly from country to country. The Multiple Sclerosis International Federation launched the first World MS Day in 2009 with the purpose to “raise awareness of MS as a global issue and raise funds to support the work of the global MS movement including MS research.” Creating a global dialogue through a unified campaign is one way to share information, generate publicity, and help educate people about the issues surrounding life with Multiple Sclerosis.
Last year, MS Societies and over 300,000 people in 68 countries took part in activities from special yoga classes in Malaysia to a photo exhibit in Italy. Organizer Sophie Patterson recently published her blog, Ideas For World MS Day, highlighting past events and talking specifically about ways to participate in 2014. Check out her article, and please consider being part of this great effort in any way that you can. After all – awareness is the first step to understanding.
Do you think special days of observation, like World MS Day, help promote better understanding? Share your thoughts or tell us how you plan to observe World MS Day on our Facebook page.