Flee or fight? That’s the question being asked by the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada in their bold new fundraising campaign.

Based on data from the Atlas of MS showing that Canada has the highest incidence of MS in the world, the campaign brands MS ‘Canada’s disease’. One advert reads ‘Welcome to MS nation’ while the campaign website celebrates Canada as the ‘World leader in hockey, maple syrup and multiple sclerosis’.

Visitors to the website are asked to click ‘flee’ or ‘fight’. Clicking flee takes users to a page recommending other countries, from Egypt (‘Great choice. You are 6 times less likely to develop MS in Egypt than in Canada’) to Japan. Tongue-in-cheek advice on flights, climate and places to stay is playfully included.

Clicking ‘fight’ leads to personal stories of Canadians living with MS, and how people can join the fight – by fundraising, volunteering or being an ambassador.

The campaign also highlights other facts about MS in Canada:

  • 80 per cent of Canadians with MS are unemployed
  • 3 women are diagnosed for every man
  • MS has been diagnosed in children as young as two

While the answers behind Canada’s high incidence rate are still to be uncovered, the country may have the ‘perfect storm’ for MS. A combination of genetics, environment and modifiable risk factors, such as Vitamin D status, obesity, smoking and viruses, are all at play.

“With Canada having the highest rate of multiple sclerosis in the world, it’s clear that MS is Canada’s disease. This means that MS is also our disease to fight as a
nation,” says Yves Savoie, president and CEO, MS Society of Canada.

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