UAE: Have you spotted this 'special' message on your coffee cup?

A QR code on the cup will provide access to personal stories and information about a chronic autoimmune condition


Waad Barakat

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KT Photos: Waad Barakat
KT Photos: Waad Barakat

Published: Thu 30 May 2024, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Thu 30 May 2024, 10:49 PM

The next time you visit your favourite coffee shop, make sure to read what's written on the cup. A total of 66 coffee shops around the country have come together with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) to raise awareness about multiple sclerosis (MS), a chronic autoimmune condition.

The cafes will serve your favourite coffee in cups labelled with the phrase, 'Navigating MS Together', along with a badge and stickers, all supporting and raising awareness for MS. A QR code on the cups will provide access to personal stories and information about the condition.

Khaleej Times visited one of the participating cafes, Pekoe Tea & Bread Bar, and witnessed the campaign's launch. Baristas proudly wore badges and served coffee in branded cups with messages such as 'Supporting the fighter, admiring the survivors'.

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What is MS?

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, unpredictable condition of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information between the brain and spinal cord.

Up to 84 per cent of MS patients experience cognitive changes, fatigue, and walking difficulties. Visual disturbances are also common, disrupting everyday tasks and impacting quality of life. This emphasises the need for increased public awareness and support.

The campaign, which kicks off today, May 30, on World MS Day and will continue until June 2, will also feature rebranded orange coffee cups, representing hope for MS patients. Orange symbolises optimism, confidence, enthusiasm and warmth.

’I felt something was wrong'

Mariam Al Qubaisi, a MS ambassador at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, shared her journey. "I was 17 when I first experienced MS symptoms. It was during my high school sports day that I felt something was wrong," she told Khaleej Times.

Describing the experience of finding out, the Emirati said, "After my high school graduation, I travelled with my family and one day, I woke up unable to move. It took a few years and a couple of misdiagnoses for me to finally be diagnosed with Relapsing Remitting MS (RRMS) in 2019."

Mariam's experience with MS's lack of information and misconceptions caused her anxiety and confusion. However, over the years, she has learned to better understand and manage her condition. "Before my diagnosis, my knowledge of MS was limited to what I learned in science classes. However, what we learned didn't tell us much about MS's effects, including its impact on mental health."

Mariam Al Qubaisi
Mariam Al Qubaisi

Understanding and managing MS

As a result of her personal experiences of living with MS and fighting and surviving it, Mariam was able to gain a deeper understanding of the condition. "Throughout the years, I’ve learned so much about MS and can better understand my condition and manage my symptoms," she said.

The Abu Dhabi resident shared excitement about the coffee cup campaign and how she believes it will have a positive impact. "We need more awareness of MS. 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. Earlier this month, they hosted a MS warrior, Dr Ahmed Shatila, a consultant neurologist and member of the NMSS Medical Committee, at The Galleria in Abu Dhabi to raise awareness and answer questions about MS.

Established in 2022 under the Ministry of Community Development, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society is a UAE-based NGO created to better the lives of people living with MS and their communities through education, advocacy and advancing global efforts to find a cure for the condition.


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