The Brazilian MS Association (ABEM) celebrated its National Awareness Day for MS in style this year with a host of vibrant events involving music, theatre, dance and film.

Brazil’s National MS Awareness Day is celebrated each year on 30 August to mark the birthday of ABEM’s founder, Ana Maria Almeida Amarante Levy.

This year’s celebrations kicked off with a lively event in Ibirapuera Park, Sao Paulo, on 18 August, where more than 5,000 people rallied to take part in Zumba classes and enjoy music from Shall Santos and band. ‘We would like to thank everyone who made this event a landmark in each person’s life’, said a representative of ABEM.

On the big day itself – 30 August – ABEM teamed up with the MS Care and Treatment Centre at the Santa Casa Hospital in Sao Paulo (CATEM) to deliver a theatrical performance of ‘The Wizard of Oz’, starring people living with MS. CATEM works in partnership with ABEM by reaching out to people with MS and referring them to ABEM for treatment and support. It also works to generate scientific knowledge about MS and support health professionals to provide effective diagnosis and treatment of MS.

Film screening

ABEM followed up this vibrant performance with a screening of a feature-length documentary, ‘The Lidwina Diary’, inspired by the story of fourteenth-century ice skater Lidwina Van Schiedam, said to have been one of the first documented cases of MS in history. This innovative film uses testimonials from people with MS, including those who ABEM supports, along with family members and health professionals to shine a light on important topics such as dealing with the daily challenges of life with MS, access to new treatments and developments in MS research.

A representative of ABEM said, ‘Participating in this event with CATEM was a great joy for us, because we fight for the same cause, with the aim of showing society what MS is and sending a positive message to those who live with the disease: together we are stronger.’

‘We want to thank everyone who made this a special and remarkable day for those present, including CATEM, ABEM employees and volunteers, the CIEE team and all the people with MS who were involved.’