Every year the Polish MS Society runs the campaign “Symphony of Hearts”, which aims to raise awareness of MS and to give a creative platform to people living with MS.
In September they held an event at Krakowskie Przedmieście, one of the busiest streets in Warsaw, to raise awareness of MS to the public and give people with MS an opportunity to share their experiences and socialise.
Lots of people arrived, eager to learn, to talk, and to listen. The Society had prepared several surprises: Argentinian tango in wheelchairs, Municipal Orchestra’s “Moderato” gala muster and a performance by Chechen band “Nochci’o”.
The society had stalls, with crafts, health assessments and most interestingly a stand with an MS simulation that demonstrates first-hand how the neurological symptoms of MS can manifest.
The simulation consists of 8 short tasks that demonstrate how difficult life with MS symptoms can be. The tasks link to our senses and abilities: vision, hearing, movement control, and balance. Participants have to perform a seemingly routine daily action, such as: colouring a picture with a child, typing a text message, talking on Skype, telling the time on a watch, or walking straight.
It sounds easy but it is not, as in each task there is a significant difficulty – the participant has their senses or movements limited the way that people with MS have (with EDSS from 2-6), so they don’t see the colours properly, or can’t stop their hand from shaking, have balance problems, blurred vision and so on. Those simulations enable people to imagine how MS symptoms can make life difficult, raising awareness and empathy.