Virtual Reality Helps MS Patients Rediscover Their Passions in Moving Films

Campaign by W&K and Tool Raises Awareness of MS

By Alexandra Jardine. Published on Mar 10, 2016

Editor's Pick

Virtual Reality already offers many possibilities for games, thrill-seekers and those wanting to experience life in another person's shoes. It's the latter that prompted the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to explore the medium for MS Awareness week, and the result is a moving campaign.

Two films by Wieden & Kennedy Portland, which worked with production house Tool and director John X. Carey, allow MS sufferers to re-experience their passions now that the disease has robbed them of the ability to use their body as they used to.

Amy, a longtime professional dancer from NYC, was diagnosed in 1997. She now dances with her wheelchair and choreographs others, but is unable to perform like she once did. In the film, LaTonya Swann, the winner of reality dance show "Born to Dance" winner, performs with a virtual reality camera on her behalf.

The second film features Steve, a surfer from Ocean Beach, CA, who is losing his ability to balance and ride the waves. His friend, professional longboarder Robert "Wingnut" Weaver, goes into the ocean with a VR camera.

The campaign encourages people with MS to share their own videos across social channels with the hashtag #WeAreStrongerThanMS.

"Each person we met was working around their specific symptoms with dignity and passion," Joe Staples, executive creative director at W&K Portland, said in a statement. "But equally, each had at least one action or hobby that they still talked of fondly, something they could no longer do. What became clear as we worked was how VR allowed these people to experience some of the things MS had taken from them."

Oliver Fuselier, managing partner, live action, Tool of North America, added: "We've been working in the VR space for some time now, but this one really hit a chord with us because it very clearly demonstrates the medium's ability to affect human lives in a way we hadn't thought possible before."

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Mar 10, 2016
Wieden & Kennedy
National Multiple Sclerosis Society
Creative Director:
Caio Lazzuri
Creative Director:
Ashley Davis-Marshall
Ryan Niland
Art Director:
Danielle Delph
Executive Producer:
Patrick Marzullo
Art Producer:
Grace Petrenka
Motion Designer:
Daniel Moreno
Motion Designer:
McKay Marshall
Motion Producer:
Sarah Gamazo
Production Company:
John X. Carey
Executive Producer:
Lori Stonebraker
Executive Producer:
Josh Hamilton
Line Producer:
Joshua Greenberg
Director of Photography:
Hilary Spera
Director of Photography:
Chris Saul
Peter Wieden Smith
JB Jacobs
Post Producer:
Catherine Liu
Post Producer:
Nathanael Horton
Post Executive Producer:
Leslie Carthy
Post Executive Producer:
Alex Thiesen
TV Visual Effects Company:
Mission Control
Music and Sound Design:
Sound Designer:
Noah Poole
Sarah Fink
VR VFX and Editing Company:
Luma Pictures
VR Editor:
Faraz Abbasi
Executive Post Producer:
Jay Lichtman
Music and Sound Company:
Q Department
Managing Partner- Live Action / Executive Producer:
Oliver Fuselier
Managing Partner- Digital / Executive Producer:
Dustin Callif

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