Virtual Balloon Race to raise vital funds for people living with Multiple Sclerosis

World MS day 2019 Dublin

MS Ireland is delighted to announce that we are bringing the open blue skies into your homes in the form of our first annual Virtual Balloon race for World MS Day.

There are 9,000 people living with MS in Ireland, our aim is to launch 9,000 Virtual balloons at €5 per balloon with the race to begin on the 30th May, World MS Day. You can design a balloon for a loved one, get competitive with family and friends or get involved with your colleagues.

Once the balloons are virtually launched they will then be subject to a simulated set of weather conditions that are based on the prevailing wind and weather conditions at the actual launch site (MS Care Centre)  for the time of year. From that point onwards, the fate of your balloon is controlled by how it will react to the weather conditions it is subjected to. This is simulated using an advanced computer modelling programme linked to Google maps and weather data. It’s a bit of fun and an easy way to support our services and spread awareness for World MS Day.  For more information or to purchase a balloon please

Caitriona Hughes, Fundraising Manager of MS Ireland said,

“We are hoping everyone gets behind the MS Virtual Balloon race and on World MS Day so we can release 9,000 virtual balloons one for each of the 9,000 people living with MS in Ireland. You can design a balloon for a loved one, get competitive with family and friends or get involved with your colleagues. We may be staying at home this summer but on World MS Day the virtual sky will be filled with balloons, each one helping us to continue to provide services in these difficult times.

Using algorithms, live weather systems and Google maps, our virtual balloon racing platform allows balloons to behave, fly and burst just like real balloons. The balloons will be virtually launched from our MS Care Centre in Bushy Park on 30th May at 12.00 noon.”

World MS Day # MSConnections

World MS Day was established by the MS International Federation (MSIF) and its member organisations in 2009 to bring the global MS community together to raise awareness and campaign to improve quality of life with MS. World MS Day is officially marked on 30 May each year. Events and campaigns take place throughout the month of May. MSIF provides a toolkit of free resources to help everyone to take part in World MS Day. These tools are available in English, Spanish, Arabic, French and Portuguese. Anyone can use these tools, or make their own, to create positive change in the lives of more than 2.3 million people around the world. For more information, please visit the World MS Day website:

Niall McGahon, 39, County Galway, has been living with MS the past 5 years and is the ambassador for this year’s World MS Day.

“MS arrived on our doorstep in 2014 with all its baggage. It invaded every space in every room, taking up time in every family activity and is on my shoulder when I work as well. It’s part of my good days and very much “active” in my bad days. I have, over the past 5 1/2 years, as a form of my coping mechanism allowed a lot of the changes visible or invisible to pass into my subconsciousness and just become the norm. Has this been the right thing to do? I have said from the outset, as have many, that MS will not define me. As we begin to face a country that is very much different the weeks and months ahead, the 9,000 people in Ireland living with MS will not be alone.

World MS Day is such an important day for me and everyone who is living with MS as it shines a spotlight on our lives and the issues we may be facing. The connections theme this year is really poignant, as we start apart from each other during this time, it makes us realise, just how important that connection is with your community”

Sarah Brooks

Sarah Brooks

Sarah has worked in marketing and content creation for many years. In her role at Newsgroup, she is the online editor of with a particular interest in local news and events. Sarah also works closely with our editorial team on our printed editions in Tallaght, Lucan, Clondalkin and Rathcoole/Saggart. If you have a story and would like to make contact please email Sarah at


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