MS Australia’s Invisible symptoms of MS animation 

When MSIF and my fellow World MS Day working group members chose ‘invisible symptoms’ as the focus of the 2019 campaign, the MS Australia team identified that animation would be a great medium to illustrate something so allusive.

In my role as the National Digital Communications Officer, I produced and project managed an animation depicting Sonia, a young woman living with MS, talking the audience through different symptoms that are ‘invisible, or hard to notice.’ Our 2-minute animation depicts Sonia, a woman living with MS, who talks us through the different symptoms that are ‘invisible’, or ‘hard to notice’ .

As well as being someone with MS in real life, Sonia is also a professional actress so was the perfect choice to evoke the emotion and sensitivity required for the material.

Having worked as a support worker in a previous role, I knew some of the ways symptoms affected someone’s day-to-day life, but I wanted to ensure that it sounded like it was coming from a person than an organisation. Therefore, at every stage of production, the concept, script, sound and video were produced in close consultation with people with MS, incorporating their own words and experiences. I crafted the script to include as many direct quotes from Sonia, our MS advocates, and the other people with MS I spoke to, in order to ensure it was as accurate and empathetic to their lives as possible.

To begin, we asked people with MS and MS professionals and to identify some of the most common and misunderstood invisible symptoms of MS. We used this list to create a script, including real quotes and stories.

Our video been viewed over 330,000 times across the various platforms in over 40 different countries. It has already been shared over 10,518 times by international MS organisations, pharmacies and medical centres, health professionals, researchers and medical research centres, MS bloggers, advocates, and others. The video has even been used to raise awareness of similar conditions.

With the support of MS organisations across the world, the video has been subtitled into 18 different languages. Several MS organisations have also re-recorded Sonia’s narration in their national language. Esclerosis Múltiple España recorded a Spanish voice-over with another professional actress living with MS, and a Dutch voice-over is in the process of being recorded by the Multiple Sclerose Vereniging.

The animation has helped raise awareness and bring the invisible symptoms of MS to light. Friends and family members have used the animation to educate loved ones about their MS symptoms. The animation has received praise and recognition from around the world. Comments such as, ‘this is almost a mirror’ and ‘this is a great way to explain symptoms to my kids’ demonstrate the power and authenticity of the animation.

We would love it this animation to reach as many people as possible! If you would like to provide a new language translation or produce a dubbed version, contact MSIF at info@msif.org.

Authored by Mark Campbell, National Digital Communications Officer, MS Australia.