World MS Day

For over 20 years, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, has been working to better understand MS and deliver solutions that improve the lives of all those affected by it. Follow #MSInsideOut on Twitter and LinkedIn to learn more about our initiatives that are building an Inside Out understanding of MS.

To mark World MS Day 2020, we are supporting MS International Federation (MSIF)`s campaign #MSConnections, which sets out to challenge social barriers, celebrate support networks and build community connection.

Having a chronic disease like multiple sclerosis can lead to social barriers leaving people affected feeling lonely and stigmatized. In a survey conducted by Multiple Sclerosis Society UK it was found that 3 in 5 people with MS feel lonely because of their condition1. At the same time we are part of a society that is much more connected than ever before. Modern technology brings us closer together and helps us make connections far beyond the traditional inner sphere of family, friends, neighbors and colleagues. Technology opens up new channels of communication and makes it faster and easier than ever for people to connect and find friendships and support.

Online activities like gaming are increasingly used as ways to socialize with others virtually and create a sense of community and wellbeing. Many gamers highly value the socialization aspects of gaming and e-sports. There is also research ongoing whether playing video games have an effect on cognitive issues.

On May 28th, 2020, we announced a global collaboration with Twitch, the world's leading service and community for multiplayer entertainment, for World MS Day May 30th.

In support of World MS Day and to show our commitment to understanding MS from the inside out, we are joining forces with Twitch. Through an 8-hour live stream with Twitch influencers and special guests on May 30, 2020, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, and Twitch will give back to the MS community by virtually connecting people affected by the disease and raising awareness among young gamers to fight stigma. The live stream will also be used as a platform to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis International Federation (MSIF). The funds will go towards MSIF`s Informed Decision Making program which helps create digital resources that connect communities around the world so that people with MS have access to the best possible information, for free, and can make informed choices about their health and lives.


World MS Day 2019

For World MS Day 2019, we supported MSIF`s campaign #MyInvisibleMS. To raise awareness on World MS Day and shine a light on the invisible symptoms of multiple sclerosis, real people with MS attended a creative workshop hosted by us to visualise the unseen burdens they live with day in, day out. These art pieces have been put together to form the My Invisible MS Art Gallery, which was used to raise awareness in 15 countries across the world on World MS Day 2019 and beyond.

Below you can see images from the My Invisible MS art gallery, including background pictures and videos from the workshop.

I’ve drawn two pictures to show the variability – when I first had MS I got the symptom of pain. I had such an intense level of pain that I thought it was the most amount of pain that someone could ever have. Then MS said “hold my beer” and increased the level of pain to such an intensity that it was completely off the charts. It’s something I never thought was possible. That opened my mind to how different it is to the normal experience of pain. (Stuart is a paid consultant of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany)

I feel like I’m dizzy sometimes, and that’s something you cannot see. And sometimes you have to grab onto things to regain balance. Also, sometimes I feel like I have brain fog. My first symptom of having MS was Optic Neuritis– where I had blurry vision. I couldn’t see straight, so I drew my eye out of my body. These are my invisible symptoms because I look just like a normal person. (Stanca is a paid consultant of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany)

This portrays how I feel when I have a relapse – I’m in a dark place with the symptoms that I’ve had so far… The tingling and sensibility disorder, with vision problems, double vision and also dizziness. When I’m good and I don’t have a relapse, I don’t even think about my MS. (Edward is a paid consultant of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany)

MS is an abstract illness, it’s difficult to understand how we feel. I look like I’m perfect but in fact I have fatigue, I have no sensation in my hands, fingers or the left part of my body, but nobody sees it. I need to do more than you to do the same thing because of MS. I have to be like 3 people to win MS - that’s part of my life. (David is a paid consultant of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany)

This image represents the everyday nuances of having MS. The aura of numbness and clumsiness follows you everywhere and only a few can see it. Speechless and literally out of focus everything is harder, everything is easier to avoid. MS is an iron ball, invisible but efficient on locking you to your home, your loved ones, your safe zone. (Marco is a paid consultant of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany)

My MS art shows skin sensitivity, that’s a lot of heat on the skin and also heat from the pain within. I feel like a normal person who is falling apart under the heat of this illness. (Carolyn is a paid consultant of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany)

My wife has MS, I do not – I am her carer. My art shows her symptoms: she suffers from pain, she suffers from numbness, sometimes her vision, she definitely suffers from fatigue. But she doesn’t let that define her – she is undefined. She is an amazing person, she has strength and she certainly is not someone who will let MS own and operate her. (Martyn is a paid consultant of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany)

My major detail is pain. I’ve got a little pain, much more pain and the strongest pain. That’s the main thing for me that is invisible. (Chris is a paid consultant of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany)