EMD Serono Makes Multiple Sclerosis Visible This World MS Day and Beyond
- MS On My Mind initiative uncovers emotional and physical impact MS has among individuals through artwork showcased at CMSC Annual Meeting

ROCKLAND, Mass., May 30, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- EMD Serono, the biopharmaceutical business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, in the U.S. and Canada, joins the global multiple sclerosis (MS) community in recognition of World MS Day, an initiative created by the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation (MSIF) to raise awareness of this challenging disease that affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide. In support of this year's World MS Day theme, "My Invisible MS" (#MyInvisibleMS), EMD Serono is making MS visible through tailored initiatives and contributions aimed at shining a light on the impact of MS – both for patients and their caregivers.

One such initiative is MS On My Mind (MSOMM), which is part of the company's #MSInsideOut global campaign aimed at providing a deeper understanding of MS around the world. MSOMM raises awareness of the emotional and multi-faceted impact MS has on individuals and aims to uncover findings that might help fuel actionable solutions to address patient and caregiver needs. Those affected by MS were asked to complete the sentence, "MS is on my mind when…" and from those submissions, top themes emerged among patients and caregivers such as extreme fatigue, the inability to perform and maintain physical activity and concern about the future.

"Our company is deeply committed to MS and better understanding both the visible and unseen ways the disease can affect patients," said Andrew Paterson, Global Head of Neurology & Immunology at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. "We are inspired by the patients and caregivers who have advanced this understanding and who made aspects of their MS visible by sharing their experience."

This year, World MS Day falls within the same week as the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC) Annual Meeting in Seattle, WA. EMD Serono is showcasing several paintings and murals developed by MSOMM creative director and MS patient Lydia Emily Archibald at the meeting. Lydia Emily used her talents to bring the invisible symptoms of MS to life through compelling artwork. Her commitment and passion for advocacy work continue to inspire and motivate the MS community.  

"Although we all have different day-to-day lives and responsibilities, we are impacted by MS in very similar ways," said Ms. Archibald. "MS might strike in the form of frustration and struggle yet trigger moments of sincere gratitude and accomplishment. All MSOMM submissions to date have been equally compelling and relatable. I am honored to have had the opportunity to bring peoples' stories to life."

Globally, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany is supporting MSIF's Informed Decision-Making Program by donating €1 (up to €50,000) for every post shared publicly in social media including combined use of the hashtags #MSInsideOut and #MyInvisibleMS until June 8. The Informed Decision-Making Program supports several initiatives of MS patient groups around the world that aim to provide reliable, accessible and up-to-date information, so people know they are making the best decision for their MS and their lives.

About Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, inflammatory condition of the central nervous system and is the most common non-traumatic, disabling neurological disease in young adults. It is estimated that more than 2.3 million people have MS worldwide. While symptoms can vary, the most common symptoms of MS include blurred vision, numbness or tingling in the limbs and problems with strength and coordination. The relapsing forms of MS are the most common.

About World MS Day 2019
World MS Day is officially marked on 30 May each year. Events and campaigns take place throughout the month of May. It brings the global MS community together to share stories, raise awareness and campaign with and for everyone affected by multiple sclerosis. World MS Day 2019 will take place on 30 May. The 2019 campaign will be called 'My Invisible MS' (#MyInvisibleMS) and the theme is Visibility. In 2009, the MS International Federation (MSIF) and its members initiated the first World MS Day. Together we have reached hundreds of thousands of people around the world, with a campaign focusing on a different theme each year. MSIF provides a toolkit of free resources to help everyone to take part in World MS Day. Anyone can use these tools, or make their own, to create positive change in the lives of more than 2.3 million people around the world.

EMD Serono, Inc. and Multiple Sclerosis
For more than 20 years, EMD Serono has been relentlessly focused on understanding the journey people living with MS face in order to create a meaningful, positive experience for them and the broader MS community. However, there is still much that is unknown about this complex and unpredictable disease. EMD Serono is digging deeper to advance the science.

About EMD Serono, Inc.
EMD Serono - the biopharmaceutical business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, in the U.S. and Canada - is engaged in the discovery, research and development of medicines for patients with difficult to treat diseases. The business is committed to transforming lives by developing and delivering meaningful solutions that help address the therapeutic and support needs of individual patients. Building on a proven legacy and deep expertise in neurology, fertility and endocrinology, EMD Serono is developing potential new oncology and immuno-oncology medicines while continuing to explore potential therapeutic options for diseases such as psoriasis, lupus and MS. Today, the business has approximately 1,300 employees around the country with commercial, clinical and research operations based in the company's home state of Massachusetts. www.emdserono.com

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