The next time you visit your favorite coffee shop, take a moment to read the message on your cup. 66 coffee shops nationwide have partnered with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) to raise awareness about multiple sclerosis (MS), a chronic autoimmune condition. Branded cups with the phrase 'Navigating MS Together,' accompanied by badges and stickers, will be used to serve your favorite coffee at these cafes, all in support of and to raise awareness for MS. Additionally, a QR code on these cups will provide access to personal stories and information about the condition.

During the campaign launch, Khaleej Times visited one of the participating cafes, Pekoe Tea & Bread Bar. Baristas proudly wore badges and served coffee in branded cups adorned with messages such as 'Supporting the fighter, admiring the survivors.' This initiative aims to shed light on MS, a chronic and unpredictable condition affecting the central nervous system, leading to disruptions in the transmission of information between the brain and spinal cord. Up to 84 per cent of MS patients experience cognitive changes, fatigue, walking difficulties, and visual disturbances, emphasizing the urgent need for increased public awareness and support.

The campaign commences on World MS Day, May 30, and will run until June 2. The rebranded orange coffee cups symbolize hope for MS patients, with orange representing optimism, confidence, enthusiasm, and warmth.

Mariam Al Qubaisi, an MS ambassador at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, shared her personal journey with MS. She recounted, 'I was 17 when I first experienced MS symptoms. It was during my high school sports day that I felt something was wrong.' Mariam's experience involved years of confusion and anxiety due to the lack of information and misconceptions about MS. However, she has since gained a deeper understanding of the condition and found effective ways to manage her symptoms.

Mariam expressed her enthusiasm for the coffee cup campaign, believing it will significantly impact public awareness. She underscored the crucial need for more education about MS, stating, 'I have lived with MS for 11 years, and I still meet people who do not know what it is. I'm sure the campaign will educate the public.'

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) has been actively supporting the MS community in the UAE, organizing events such as hosting Dr. Ahmed Shatila, a consultant neurologist and member of the NMSS Medical Committee, for an awareness session at The Galleria in Abu Dhabi. Formed in 2022 under the Ministry of Community Development, the NMSS is a UAE-based NGO dedicated to improving the lives of those living with MS and their communities through education, advocacy, and advancing global efforts to find a cure for the condition.