EMD Serono, the biopharmaceutical business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, in the U.S. and Canada, joins the global multiple sclerosis (MS) community in recognition of World MS Day, an initiative created by the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation (MSIF) to raise awareness of this challenging disease that affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide. In support of this year’s World MS Day theme, “My Invisible MS” (#MyInvisibleMS), EMD Serono is making MS visible through tailored initiatives and contributions aimed at shining a light on the impact of MS – both for patients and their caregivers.
One such initiative is MS On My Mind (MSOMM), which is part of the company’s #MSInsideOut global campaign aimed at providing a deeper understanding of MS around the world. MSOMM raises awareness of the emotional and multi-faceted impact MS has on individuals and aims to uncover findings that might help fuel actionable solutions to address patient and caregiver needs. Those affected by MS were asked to complete the sentence, “MS is on my mind when…” and from those submissions, top themes emerged among patients and caregivers such as extreme fatigue, the inability to perform and maintain physical activity and concern about the future.
“Our company is deeply committed to MS and better understanding both the visible and unseen ways the disease can affect patients,” said Andrew Paterson, Global Head of Neurology & Immunology at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. “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.”
This year, World MS Day (May 30) falls within the same week as the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC) Annual Meeting in Seattle, WA. EMD Serono is showcasing several paintings and murals developed by MSOMM creative director and MS patient Lydia Emily Archibald at the meeting. Lydia Emily used her talents to bring the invisible symptoms of MS to life through compelling artwork. Her commitment and passion for advocacy work continue to inspire and motivate the MS community.
“Although we all have different day-to-day lives and responsibilities, we are impacted by MS in very similar ways,” said Ms. Archibald. “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.”
Globally, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany is supporting MSIF’s Informed Decision-Making Program by donating €1 (up to €50,000) for every post shared publicly in social media including combined use of the hashtags #MSInsideOut and #MyInvisibleMS until June 8. The Informed Decision-Making Program supports several initiatives of MS patient groups around the world that aim to provide reliable, accessible and up-to-date information, so people know they are making the best decision for their MS and their lives.