In this guest blog, Sarah from Shift.ms tells us all about the brand new Map.ms which is coming soon…
Time after time we hear how our members, people with MS, want to meet others like them but there seems to be a lack of ways to facilitate this. Map.ms will aim to do just that – help to bring MSers together.
Shift.ms is an online community first and foremost. We’ll always encourage people to chat in the forum and share experiences online that can be read by the masses. But we also know that there’s huge benefit in meeting people face to face, grabbing a coffee and having a rant about their latest symptoms.
A couple of years ago we had a map on www.shift.ms but it really needed rebuilding to do it justice. So we retired it for a short time, always having the intention to bring it back. During this time so many people would say, ‘where’s the map?’, ‘when’s the map coming back?’. When we heard about the Aviva Community Fund we knew this was our chance to raise the funds needed to kickstart the rebuild so we threw everything into it.
To give you some background, there were a few stages to get through to reach where we are now. The Shift.ms team had a week to turn the application around, which involved writing a proposal, enlisting the help of our volunteer MSers and create a marketing campaign. Once this was submitted we had a few days to bite our fingernails as we waited to hear whether we made it to the next stage.
We’d made it through. But now the hard work really started. We needed people to vote for Map.ms, and vote in their thousands! We may have underestimated the community, in hindsight. Everyone completely got behind it, voting, sharing with friends and family, posting on every social media account they could get their hands on. The votes flew in! We ended on 7, 755 votes which meant we’d made it to the final stage – in true X Factor style, it was down to the judges to decide our fate. From 18th November until Tuesday 10th January we waited.
Thankfully, huge celebrations were in store and on 10th January we were given the exciting news to share with the community – we’d been awarded the funding!
We were and still are a little in shock. We couldn’t have done this without the community. It’s a true example of our motto – ‘By MSers for MSers’. The community have and will be involved in every step of the way. From supporting the campaign through to planning the development and testing that the map works. We’ve already started work on the map and are aiming for it to go live in three months and then we’ll be encouraging the community to plot themselves.
We hope you’ll all get behind Map.ms and help us bring the MS community closer together.