Shire launches #FlyForMPS digital awareness campaign

Shire has launched a new digital campaign to raise awareness of the rare mucopolysaccharide (MPS) diseases.

The campaign will use digital ‘paper planes’ which can be created at to spread awareness of MPS diseases. Once created, the planes are ‘launched’ through digital and social media platforms which are then tracked in terms of their electronic distance flown. The aim of the campaign is to reach 20 million air miles and 8,000 connections worldwide.

“Shire is committed to helping improve the lives of people with rare diseases and raising awareness is essential to do so,” said Angus Hogg, MPS Franchise Lead at Shire. “The Fly for MPS campaign will help people around the world better understand and share information about MPS diseases, in an effort to shorten the path to diagnosis for those affected by these rare diseases.”

Christine Lavery, group chief executive at The MPS Society also commented on the campaign: “By connecting people around the world this International MPS Awareness Day, we hope to improve awareness and understanding of these conditions amongst both the public and healthcare professionals.”

MPS disorders are a group of rare genetic metabolic diseases that affects levels of an enzyme responsible for breaking down the sugar mucopolysaccharide. According to the MPS Society, MPS and related diseases occur in every one in 25,000 births, affecting around 5% of the world’s population.

There are currently seven known different types of MPS disorders: MPS I (Hurler-Scheie syndrome), MPS II (Hunter syndrome), MPS III (Sanfilippo syndrome), MPS IV (Morquio syndrome), MPS VI (Maroteaux-Lamy syndrome), MPS VII (Sly syndrome), and MPS IX. MPS II is a particularly debilitating disorder that affects various tissues and organs, progressively worsening over a child’s lifetime.

The Fly for MPS campaign is not the first example of a pharmaceutical company using social media to raise awareness of a disorder. On 18 November, Boehringer Ingelheim’s #COUGH campaign to raise awareness of chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) utilised the Thunderclap platform to send out tweets on the timelines of 270 users, causing a spike in online conversation and reaching 691,852 individual accounts.

Shire is encouraging the use of the #FlyForMPS hashtag online to initiate dialogue and share information between 15 May and 15 June.  Here’s the link to the Thunderclap .

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