Turning words into art: Merck KGaA launches campaign to bring MS insights to life

Merck kgaa
Merck KGaA is launching a new MS campaign that asks patients and caregivers to share their experiences. (Merck)

EMD Serono wants to know what’s on the minds of multiple sclerosis patients and their loved ones. In a new campaign, the Merck KGaA pharma unit is asking them to finish the sentence “MS is on my mind when …” The submitted replies will be reviewed and used as inspiration for artwork to be created by prominent street artist and muralist Lydia Emily Archibald, known simply as Lydia Emily, who also has MS.

She will create one work each month for the next six months, plus one final piece developed on canvas as a compilation of all the insights gained through the campaign. The artwork will be shared online in social media and on the campaign website and EMD Serono is looking at additional options for sharing through advocacy organization partnerships, such as local market events and online.

RELATED: Merck KGaA launches story-sharing template to help MS patients chronicle journey


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Anyone in the community, not just patients, is encouraged to submit ideas and real-life experiences. And EMD Serono won’t stop there, Kim Ramsey, director of patient advocacy and strategic partnerships, said. The pharma plans to review the submissions to understand where there are gaps or needs in the MS community.

“We’re in this to hear, but we’re also in this to do,” she said. “We’re asking for submissions and we’re going to hear what the community is saying, but it’s not going to end there. … We’re committed to helping to address what we hear and try to create some sustainable and impactful solutions, so that this campaign has a long-term impact and is not just creating awareness, but bringing something actionable at the end.”

RELATED: Merck KGaA’s EMD Serono sponsors MS specialty fitness training program

EMD Serono markets Rebif, a longtime go-to for relapsing forms of MS. The FDA is currently reviewing the company's resubmitted application for oral MS candidate cladribine, another treatment for relapsing MS.

With the new campaign just launched, EMD Serono expects it to change over the next few months as the company gathers patient and caregiver insights.

“So much of this campaign is going to evolve based on what we hear, so it’s hard to know what it will look like in six months. But certainly the idea of perseverance and empowering yourself while living with MS is something we hope this campaign highlights,” Ramsey said.

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