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MS Awareness Week 2024 round up

In April we once again marked MS Awareness Week. For the second year running we partnered with six MS charities, including MS Trust and MS Together, and launched a united campaign, MS Unfiltered.

To strengthen the campaign we surveyed the MS community and over 1,400 people responded. The results showed over a third have avoided seeking medical help due to embarrassing symptoms. And 85% of people were embarrassed by at least one of their symptoms.

National press coverage

We worked with PA Media on an exclusive story to share the findings of our survey. This was covered in print by the Daily Mirror, Daily Express, i newspaper, The Scotsman, Press and Journal and Yorkshire Post. It featured in over 170 online articles including Daily Mail and Evening Standard.

We secured broadcast pieces on Sky News and Channel 5. Sky News shared the news of our survey and spoke with Big Brother star Kerry Riches, who lives with MS, as well as our Executive Director for Research and External Affairs, Sarah Rawlings.

On the Friday of MS Awareness Week we featured on Jeremy Vine on 5. Made in Chelsea star Jane Felstead, who lives with MS, and GP Dr James Carvell, who is co-founder of Monkey Sox and lives with MS, appeared on the phone-in section of the show hosted by Storm Huntley. The pair discussed their own experiences of MS and shared information about MS Unfiltered.

In Scotland, highlights included The Herald and our country Director Morna Simpkins spoke to BBC Radio Scotland. In Wales our Ambassador Stuart Nixon and his wife Marie spoke to the South Wales Argus.

In total we achieved over 250 pieces of coverage with a potential audience of 42.8 million people.

Sharing people’s experiences

Throughout the week we encouraged people to share their own unfiltered stories using the campaign hashtag and ensured we highlighted the support services available due to the sensitive nature of the campaign.

We posted several blogs from our community during the week. On social media we shared five newly created videos featuring people living with MS to highlight #MSUnfiltered. Anji, Paige, Stuart and Marie, Jordan and Stewart all shared the symptoms they find hard to talk about. We also worked with the founder of Talks with MS, Terri-Louise.

We also spoke with MS Nurse Noreen and GP Panna who answered questions from the community and shared tips on how to manage bladder and bowel issues and how to raise difficult symptoms with your GP.

So far the videos have been viewed by 237,997 people and all social posts throughout the week have appeared on 1,775,390 screens.

Making an impact elsewhere

Chair of the APPG for MS, Charlotte Nichols MP, tabled a parliamentary motion recognising MS Awareness Week. It was signed by MPs from five parties.

For the first time this year, we created a supporter pack which included draft social media posts, graphics and a meeting guide.

Saying thank you

Our Fundraising Team used MS Awareness Week to host their first Thankathon — calling as many of our supporters as they could to thank them for their amazing support. Later this year, they hope to launch a charity-wide Thankathon so that every team can get involved.

They also mailed some of our newest supporters with inspirational stories about the realities of MS, and how their support means better days for people living with the condition.