Beirut, Lebanon – 2019. On the occasion of the Global MS Day and as an extension to the “ما ترفع العشرة” campaign, ALiSEP in collaboration with Merck, brought the MS Art Gallery to Zaytouna Bay, Lebanon, to raise awareness for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) disease and to instill hope in the hearts of nearly 2400 MS patients in Lebanon. In support of this year’s World MS Day theme, #MyInvisibleMS, ALiSEP and Merck are making MS visible through a variety of initiatives aimed at shining a light on the hidden symptoms of MS. These invisible symptoms, which include visual problems, fatigue, pain and emotional changes, can vary between patients and often add to the stigma and emotional burden of the disease.
The paintings displayed in the art exhibition were painted by MS patients from across the globe, expressing the pain the disease gives them and how they are hopeful for a better life without MS.
The event gave guests and participants the opportunity and resources to imagine their life without MS and to express what they feel that life would be like through another painting drawn at the event itself.
For the occasion, Mrs. Jane Koussa, President of ALiSEP, addressed the patients with the message, “The turn out today and the messages shared through these paintings are amazing. We are proud to know such brave, strong individuals whose perseverance is stronger than their pain, as you continue to fight MS and regain hope for a brighter future. We see and appreciate your strength through the hidden symptoms. I encourage you to continue to follow up with your doctors regularly to better manage and limit the progression of this disease. We thank you for your confidence in ALiSEP and its mission. We promise to always stand with you and provide financial, moral, and psychological support. Be optimistic, and have hope for a united, brighter future.”
General Manager of Merck Near East, Dr. Hala Sleiman, explained Merck’s journey with MS and the company’s commitment to raise awareness and to better understand both the visible and unseen ways the disease can affect patients. Dr. Sleiman stated, “This year, World MS DAY organizations adopted the theme of MY INVISIBLE MS to raise awareness of the unseen, complex and debilitating symptoms of the disease. We understand that it’s not just the physical symptoms to contend with, but the emotional and practical implications of living with a degenerative disease like MS. We work collaboratively with patients, carers, academia and other members of the MS community, to gain a better understanding of their experiences while living with MS and/or caring for someone with this disease.
We put patient needs at the center of everything we do, and we are dedicated to disease awareness-raising efforts. “ما ترفع العشرة” is a movement that reminds us to never give up, and to look forward to a better life.”