In honor of World MS Day, McCann Health Boot (formerly McCann Health Italy), is rolling out the Willchair.

What is the Willchair, you might ask?

It’s a deconstructed chair that is rebuilt with a design focused on supporting the needs of patients living with MS. The effort was led by designer Derek Castiglioni in consultation with young patients living with MS. 

It’s estimated that 2.5 million people have MS, according to data from MS Discovery Forum. The causes of MS are often uncertain, but the effects are commonly identified by muscle weakness in arms or legs, blurred vision, numbness or prickling in limbs, or fatigue.

While many people diagnosed with the disease may associate it with the use of a wheelchair for support, the campaign cites statistics that indicate 75% of people with the disease will not need to use the device.

To recognize the medical advancements around treating MS, the campaign solicited input from patients and designers to turn the wheelchair into the Willchair.

Such factors included in the Willchair design include outward arms to embrace new treatments, 10 spokes as it is currently possible to diagnose MS 10 times earlier than before and a wheel on the back in order to put fear behind.

“Willchair today is not just a neologism, but it is mostly a symbol that allows the newly diagnosed patients to leave their worst fears behind, and look to the future with new confidence and determination,” the firm stated.

The agency’s campaign is being promoted by Novartis Italy in collaboration with the Italian Multiple Sclerosis Society by taking the project to hospitals across the country.

Video testimonials from patients describing their journey with MS and what inspired the design of the chair are featured on the campaign’s website. Additionally, the effort highlights a neurologist discussing the clinical work being done to produce earlier diagnoses and discover effective new treatments for the disease.

McCann Health Boot and Novartis Italy are the latest organizations to prioritize messaging around the MS patient population.

Genentech’s ongoing #MSVisibility campaign underscores the challenges facing patients from marginalized communities, launching a direct-to-consumer campaign for Ocrevus in both English and Spanish last fall.