The Polish MS Society has taken to the streets, the tramways and dance floors to shine a spotlight on MS. The Symphony of Hearts campaign gave the MS community in Poland the opportunity to come together and fight some of the common misconceptions of MS and invisible symptoms.
The awareness raising campaign begins in February and gathers momentum in September and October. This year’s celebrations aligned with the World MS Day 2019 theme of visibility, with its special focus on the invisible symptoms of MS.
Every year, the Polish MS Society organises campaign contests, conferences, media interviews and more. This year, they featured invisible symptom posters on Warsaw’s trams to raise awareness across the capital.
A poetry and photography exhibition was organised around the theme of the visibility of MS. It received a huge number of submissions, each interpreting the concept differently. You can see some of the best photographs here.
The Polish MS Society also held a competition for the best graduate thesis on MS. The winning paper looked at fatigue and sleeping disorders among people with MS.
One of the main events was held in Warsaw’s popular old town, Krakowskie Przedmieście. People with MS shared their experiences of invisible MS symptoms in a panel discussion. Musical performance, wheelchair tango and raffle prizes attracted crowds and sparked new conversations about MS.
The highlight of the campaign was the gala at the Royal Castle in Warsaw. The gala brought people with MS, decision-makers, and supporters together. An awards ceremony recognised the achievements and commitments of supporters.
Scholastyka Śniegowska, Director of the Polish MS Society and Symphony of Hearts Co-ordinator, said:
‘The Symphony of Hearts is a unique campaign. It is a national event that creates a feeling of community. Our society leaders, chapters and volunteers gather alongside people with MS and their loved ones. The Symphony of Hearts allows us to reach people across Poland and fight MS myths.
We can disseminate up-to-date knowledge and acknowledge those who are working for people with MS in our country. This gives the campaign a fantastic energy.’