50 Shades of Blue

Posted on March 25, 2014 by Guest Writer
Close up of woman in blue and white, smiling on the beach

Get ready for an event that could see thousands of people up and down the country dressing up in blue, eating a blue themed meal or even giving their hair a blue rinse this month.

The UK’s Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Trust’s Awareness Week runs from 28 April to 4 May and as part of the event. Brits are being encouraged to wear blue jeans, blue t-shirts or anything with a shade of blue in it – as part of the Be Bold in Blue campaign to help raise awareness. The condition affects more than 100,000 people in the UK. But you might already know some famous faces who have been diagnosed with the condition. They include American comedian Richard Pryor, Ozzy Osbourne’s son Jack Osbourne and former England and Manchester United footballer Danny Wallace.
As well as dressing up, volunteers are needed to spread the word about the condition and take up the MS Trust 21 Challenge, by reaching out to 21 people affected by MS. As part of the campaign, this year the charity is marking 21 years of providing free information to everyone affected by MS, a valuable service for patients that costs the charity an average £2,250 per week to run.

What is Multiple Sclerosis?

It’s a disease that affects the nerves in the spinal cord and brain, causing problems with balance, vision, fatigue and muscle movement. People who have MS are not able to transmit electrical signals from the brain to the rest of the body, as a protein called Myelin that protects the nerve is damaged.

MS Facts

  • More than 100,000 people in the UK have MS
  • 57 people every week are diagnosed with MS
  • The most common symptoms are invisible: fatigue, pain and slowed thinking
  • MS is the most common neurological condition affecting young people
  • People are usually diagnosed with MS in their 20s and 30s
  • MS affects more than twice as many women than men
  • MS is not a fatal condition
  • Most people diagnosed with MS will not need to use a wheelchair on a regular basis
  • At present, there is no cure for MS. But there are many ways that symptoms can be treated

What can you do to help?

The good news is that if you want to get involved this year there is a myriad of measures you can take to help spread the word about MS and raise vital funds in the process.
You could…

  • Hold a “Dress Blue” event in your office
  • Hold a blue themed dinner party (blue steak, blue cheese, bottle of Blue Nun)
  • Dye your hair blue for sponsorship
  • Hold a blue cake bake off
  • Use Facebook to spread the word by changing your profile to something blue (in the colour sense of the word that is!)
  • Join the MS Trust Facebook group
  • Tag your Twitter posts during MS Awareness Week with #MSWeek
  • Or, use Twitter and Facebook to share the MS facts above

Alternatively, the MS Trust also suggests that you help spread the word by…

  • Giving a talk about your experience of MS at work, to local clubs and organisations to help them understand the condition better. The MS Trust can send you a DVD to explain the work the charity carries out
  • Writing a letter to your local newspaper or let them know about your fundraising
  • Setting up an information stand at work, your local library, your GP’s surgery or anywhere you can get people’s attention
  • Writing a blog about MS

If you are thinking of organising an event as part of MS Awareness Week, you can get ideas and inspiration here. For more information on MS visit the NHS website.

For more information visit the MS Trust’s Facebook campaign.