This year, for World MS Day in Portugal, the Portuguese Multiple Sclerosis Society (SPEM) organized an event for several hundred runners: a 10 km course with an alternative 5 km path for walkers. The event was part of the ‘EM Força’ project that has shown us how direct action in public, with fun activities, has a ‘magical’ effect in spreading our message.
The fundraising project “EM’ Força” (MS Force) has been flying high since it started in 2012. We create ‘running’ events that anyone can attend, regardless of their condition: from using a wheelchair to being able to run 100 kilometres. Everyone can join us. We also organize events where the participants feel they are part of something bigger. This World MS Day the run was planned as a three part event: a flash mob, a fundraising moment and a day of awareness.
A magical atmosphere
A professional musician, with a passion for this cause, wrote and performed a song and created a beautiful moment at the start of the flash mob, with hundreds of people joining in. The singing created a magical atmosphere for the rest of the morning.
We sold our ‘EM’Força’ running t-shirt for 10€ donation. As a result, hundreds of people ran and walked the open course we prepared, in Lisbon, in vibrant red, raising awareness of MS and SPEM amongst the public.
It was a very successful event, not only because of the number of participants and the donations we got but also for the enriching experience of having so many people focused on MS. That day we were indeed #strongerthanMS.
With the “EM’Força” project we have proved that running events are a great way to spread our message and reach many more people. Normally Portuguese runners are incredibly solitary but since 2012, we have brought together more than 500 runners, all wearing out our t-shirt, around the country and even in Brazil.
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Article by Pedro Filipe Godinho of Sociedade Portuguesa de Esclerose Múltipla – SPEM