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World MS Day: How music unites us across the world

Trishna Bharadia

Our ambassador Trishna writes about hosting Tune in for MS, a virtual concert bringing together people with MS from around the world.

For World MS Day last year, I teamed up with the MS International Federation to host the first ever Tune in for MS concert. It was an incredible experience and I’m so excited to be hosting again this year.

Tackling loneliness and isolation

The theme of World MS Day this year is MS Connections. This theme couldn’t be more important right now, as we’re all feeling so disconnected, and lots of us are separated from loved ones.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been incredibly tough for people with MS, not just in the UK but around the world. Isolation and loneliness is a real problem for many of us, and the pandemic has only made this worse.

I’ve only left the house three times in the past year – once to get my flu jab and twice to get my first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

My niece was only three months old when the pandemic hit – so I’ve had to watch her grow up on FaceTime. I’m so grateful for technology though. I’m able to speak to my sister every day and there's been a lot of support from MS Society local groups online.

Photo shows MS Society Ambassador Trishna Bharadia smiling at the camera.
Being able to learn what life is like for people with MS in other countries is so important. I’m particularly interested in how disabled people are treated in other places across the world.

Music makes the world unite

Music has always been a big part of my life. It’s always been there for me regardless of what I’ve been going through.

Tune in for MS is a great way to bring the global MS community together at this really difficult time. It highlights how music can unite people, regardless of age or geography – it just transcends all those things.

Even though the event is virtual, you still feel like you really connect with everyone. There’s such a diverse range of musical genres – from rock to soul to Middle Eastern music – and the global MS choir’s performance last year completely blew me away. It was a real goose   bumps moment and I can’t wait to hear them perform again this year.

Let’s learn from each other

The international element of World MS Day is so important to me.

I’m a British Asian, and I have family all over the world. I’m also a Spanish to English translator, so I’ve always had international connections. Being able to learn what life is like for people with MS in other countries is so important. I’m particularly interested in how disabled people are treated in other places across the world.

There’s a lack of understanding about how MS impacts different communities. MS is typically seen as a “Caucasian” condition, but it affects everyone. Within Asian communities there can be quite a lot of stigma and prejudice around MS and disability in general. Asian MS are an incredible group who who offer tailored support and services to Asian people with MS, their carers, friends and family.

Being able to come together with MS communities around the world, I’ve learned that lots of different communities have similar issues, and we can learn from each other.

Head over to the World MS Day website to find out how you can Tune in for MS on Sunday 30 May.