LONDON, May 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Former Man Utd star Danny Wallace is helping to shine the spotlight on the condition that ended his career early by joining together with the MS Society to support World MS Day.
The first coordinated world-wide initiative to highlight the proliferation of multiple sclerosis (MS) is being launched tomorrow (Wednesday 27 May) with more than 200 events in 61 countries in a concerted effort to raise global awareness of the disease.
World MS Day coincides with the football Champions League final, where Danny's former team take on FC Barcelona in Rome.
Bidding Sir Alex and the team good luck, Danny said: I've seen first hand how MS can turn someone's life upside down. I wish I was still playing but I love the game and that will never change; neither will the importance of raising awareness of this debilitating condition.
FC Barcelona's star player and manager Lionel Messi and Josep Guardiola have also come out in support of the special day.
Argentinean Messi said: Whenever I go out to the field, whenever I kick the ball and whenever I run to catch it, every step and every effort I make will be a tribute to the people who live with a much more difficult challenge, to fight every day against MS.
This first ever World MS Day has been organised by Multiple Sclerosis International Federation (MSIF - http://www.msif.org) and by MS Societies in 61 countries around the world.
UK MS Society Chief Executive, Simon Gillespie, said: The MS Society is delighted to be part of World MS Day and it is right that we shine the spotlight on this condition, which can have a devastating affect on people's lives.
With global co-operation, we will together be able to help the millions around the world who are affected by MS and their fight against the disease.
The day aims to be a day of unity, strength and solidarity, where people affected by MS in homes, towns and cities across the world come together to take positive action on MS.
The goal is to mobilise and expand the global MS movement by encouraging people to talk about their MS experiences, donate to support people affected by MS and to fund research, join MS organisations around the world and encourage politicians to take action.
In the lead-up to this first ever World MS Day, US climber Lori Schneider has reached the summit of Mt Everest and is believed to be the first person with diagnosed MS to stand at the top of the world.
Meanwhile rock group U2 has lent support through the use of its song 'Beautiful Day' for the global campaign film showing the 'Beautiful Day/ 1000 faces of Multiple Sclerosis', which will be released on 00.01 GMT Wednesday 27 May.
MS is found in every country in the world, and is one of the most common neurological diseases amongst people in their 20s and 30s. It affects people often at the beginning of their working lives, when they are starting a family. MS affects at least twice as many women as men. Up to 60% of people diagnosed with MS will suffer long-term disability. So far, there is no proven cause and no cure.
Peer Baneke, CEO of MSIF, said: No matter where they live, people with MS, their families, friends and the wider community, need to come together to help fight this disease and allow people in any country to discuss their MS openly. We want to support those who have MS and work together across the globe to find a cure.
Notes to Editors:
What is happening on World MS Day?
Among the many initiatives: - Global campaign film released on May 27 featuring U2's Beautiful Day will highlight the many different faces of MS - The US National MS Society is issuing a call to action to more than 850,000 individuals with an affiliation to the MS movement asking them to tell their federal legislators to support adequate, affordable health care coverage for all - MS Society of Palestine opens its first office - Roll for MS cycling and motorcycling events in Belgium, Canada, France and Luxembourg. - In Ireland, eight people will climb six mountains in 72 hours, there will be a national seminar, exhibition, membership drive and hundreds of people will take to the streets in red MS Ireland t-shirts to raise awareness and funds. - Human chains formed in Mumbai and Delhi, India - Research conference in Norway - Concerts in Greece and Cyprus
For further events search our global map at: http://www.worldmsday.org/map
Among the leading sports stars to support World MS Day:
Lionel Messi, Argentina, FC Barcelona footballer, who will play in the European Champions' League Final, against Manchester United in Rome on World MS Day . Josep Guardiola, Spain, FC Barcelona Manager. Betty Cuthbert, Australia, four-times Olympic gold medallist runner. Bjørn Daehlie, Norway, eight-times Olympic gold medallist skier. Cesc Fàbregas, Spain, Arsenal FC footballer. Ignacio Nacho González, Uruguay, Newcastle FC footballer. Nelson Évora, Olympic and world triple jump champion, Portugal
Other global celebrities supporting World MS Day include: Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce AC Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, Evy Gruyaert, TV/ radio presenter, Belgium, Mimis Plessas, composer, Greece, Milind Soman, Bollywood actor, India, Nicoletta Mantovani, wife of Luciano Pavarotti, Italy, Lorenzo Quinn, sculptor, Italy/ USA, Job Cohen, Mayor of Amsterdam, Netherlands, Phil Keoghan, TV presenter, New Zealand/ USA, Suzie Moncrieff, Artistic Director, Montana World of WearableArt Show, New Zealand, Tony Carreira, pop star, Portugal, Maria Cavaco Silva, First Lady, Portugal, Mário Laginha, pianist and composer, Portugal, Clay Walker, Multi-platinum recording artist, USA, USA: Teri Garr, actress/ comedienne, USA and David 'Squiggy' Lander, actor and author, USA.
'Beautiful Day/1000 faces of Multiple Sclerosis'
The 4-minute global campaign film is now available under embargo for viewing at the following link: http://www.msif2.org/media/preview/ By entering the following details:
username: filmpreview password: nxP2DS (this is case sensitive)
The MS Society - The MS Society (http://www.mssociety.org.uk) is the UK's largest charity dedicated to supporting everyone whose life is touched by MS, providing respite care, an award-winning freephone helpline (+44(0)808-800-8000), specialist MS nurses and funds more than 80 vital MS research projects in the UK. - Multiple sclerosis is the most common disabling neurological condition affecting young adults and an estimated 85,000 people in the UK have MS. - MS is the result of damage to myelin - the protective sheath surrounding nerve fibres of the central nervous system – which interferes with messages between the brain and the body. - For some people, MS is characterised by periods of relapse and remission while for others it has a progressive pattern. - Symptoms range from loss of sight and mobility, fatigue, depression and cognitive problems. There is no cure and few effective treatments.
For media enquiries please contact the MS Society Press Office on +44(0)20-8438-0840, or the out of hours duty press officer on +44(0)7909-851401.