World MS Day was celebrated around the globe on Wednesday 27th May. While some MSIF staff were coordinating the central campaign from London, others travelled further afield to support and encourage MS organisations’ activities in Lebanon, China, Spain and the Netherlands.
Peer Baneke, our CEO, spent World MS Day in Spain with the Basque MS Foundation and MSIF board member, Pedro Carrascal, CEO of MS Spain (EME).
He attended the congress of the Basque MS Foundation, where special attention was given to research into progressive MS and the role of the International Progressive MS Alliance, for which 85,000 Euros has already been raised in Spain.
Peer met with officials in the region, who play a key role in the development of policies to support people affected by MS. He also visited the MS rehabilitation centre in Bilbao and spent some time at the residential home, which is managed by the Basque MS Foundation. He received a particularly warm welcome from the trained ‘companion’ dog that lives in the home as well!
Ceri Angood, our Director of Programmes, was in the Netherlands for World MS Day where she spoke at a conference on translational medicine in Amsterdam. Translational medicine aims to speed up discovery of new diagnostic tools and treatments by using a multi-disciplinary, highly collaborative, “bench-to-bedside” approach, ensuring research gets ‘translated’ from laboratory experiments into real interventions to improve people’s health.
Ceri also visited Stichting MS Research, our member organisation in the Netherlands, to support their 35th anniversary celebrations and annual research conference.
At both these events, Ceri spoke about the International Progressive MS Alliance, advocated for involving people affected by MS in research decision making and highlighted the importance of working together to support and fundraise for the future of MS research.
Zoe Burr, our Head of International Capacity Building, spent World MS Day in China. She joined more than 90 people affected by MS and neuromyelitis optica (NMO) for a day of educational activities organised by MS Home (MSZJ).
During the event, MSZJ introduced the online services they provide for the MS/NMO community and spoke about their plans to continue to increase and vary the information on their website, encouraging delegates to get involved.
Other speakers at the event included Professor Xu Xianhao, a leading Chinese neurologist with 25 years’ experience of working in MS, and a neurologist working with Chinese Traditional Medicine who answered questions on this type of treatment.
The presence of so many MS/NMO health professionals at this event really helped MSZJ in its efforts to become a trusted and respected source of support for the MS/NMO communities in China.
Abdelfatah Ibrahim, our Regional Capacity Building Manager, was in Lebanon at an event organised by the Lebanese Society of Neurology. He was joined by people affected by MS, representatives from MS organisations and health professionals.
During the day, the delegates had the chance to ask questions to a panel of health professionals, including neurologists, ophthalmologists, urologists, psychiatrists, physiotherapists and nutritionists.
Maha, president of The Society of Lebanese Friends of Patients with Multiple Sclerosis (ALSEP) spoke about the support her organisation has been receiving as part of MSIF’s capacity building programme in the Arab region.
Wold MS Day in Lebanon provided a great opportunity for people to come together to share their knowledge and experiences, and celebrate World MS Day in unity.