2018 – thank you for an epic year!

It’s the time of year when loose ends are tied up and we start to look forward to new opportunities (after a well-deserved break of course!). Before we rush into the New Year, we want to look back on the year that was and reflect on the joys and highlights that made 2018 as amazing as it was. It was a big year for Kiss Goodbye to MS and everything achieved this year wouldn’t have been possible without the support from you guys, our strong and incredible MS Squad – THANK YOU!

From global unions to red lippies, crazy horse rides to Secret Garden affairs, let’s take a look at what we have accomplished together and rewind to some of our top highlights of Kiss Goodbye to MS 2018!

We are forever proud of our Aussie campaign, and this year we were so ecstatic to share that Kiss Goodbye to MS is now being run in 15 countries! Not only does this mean more funds for research into MS, but it also makes us feel very confident and excited for the future landscape of MS research and the lasting impact our combined efforts will have for people living with MS.

So let’s get right into our 2018 highlights, shall we?!

  • We kicked off MS awareness month and launched Kiss Goodbye to MS with one of our absolute favourite days of the year, Red Lab Coat Day! And this year, we added a slight twist to mix things up! The name of the day says it all, our MS researchers across Australia switched their usual white lab coats for red ones, with the purpose of raising awareness for the disease on the first day of May. We also welcomed some friendly competition with our first ever ‘Battle of the Labs’, where our researchers competed for votes (kisses) on the best creative videos they could come up with, showcasing their invaluable MS research! Nine creative videos were submitted and were watched over 8,300 times, with the well deserved lab from the University of Technology taking home the win with 2,695 kisses for their creative dance performance inside and outside the lab. Our researchers work endlessly to help us find a cure for MS and we love celebrating them each year! In case you missed the videos, you can watch them all here.
  • Our MS Squad flourished as we received an overwhelming response to our game face challenge! People from around the world took over social media to flaunt their fab red lippies and best game faces to stand by those they love who are living with MS and to raise awareness for the invisible symptoms of the disease. It was heartwarming to see our global MS community come together and see so many colourful photos and videos from different cultures from around the globe. Our global game face video was watched over 400,000 times on social media and the #KissGoodbyeToMS hashtag was used over 18,800 times on Instagram – yes you could say we took over the world!
  • 2018 saw our incredible Kiss Goodbye to MS fundraisers go all out for MS research. For our Ambassadors Jess Rudd and Renee Coffey this meant putting their skin on the line, by getting the public to vote for/against getting a matching tattoo for Kiss Goodbye to MS (yes, a real one!). A very brave, and some may say ‘crazy’ fundraising idea which raised $33,459 for vital research into MS! Lucky for them they walked away with no tattoos, as a last minute major donation (we blame their mums!) saved the two besties from starring down the needle and getting matching tattoos.
  • The Ride for a Cure team did the unimaginable by tackling the toughest and longest horse race in the world, the Mongol Derby. Despite very little training, very tough weather conditions and stubborn wild horses, the cousins came in 9th place and raised a record breaking $189,325!
  • Kiss Goodbye to MS Ambassador Katrina Hemingway walked 268 miles amongst stretches of land and mountain tops to overcome the Pennine Way in the UK accompanied by her sister Belinda and Belinda’s husband, Neil. Katrina’s inspiration for the epic adventure was her husband Mike who is living with MS. The awesome trio did an outstanding job and raised $23,224 for Kiss Goodbye to MS. A once in a lifetime walking experience for our trekking legends!
  • Not to forget one of our winter favourites – City2Surf! Once again, the event turned out to be a success as our fundraisers raised $30,239.59 for Kiss Goodbye to MS, our biggest year yet! We loved seeing all the old and new faces at the finish line and catching up with our MS Squad while enjoying yummy food, massages and beverages. We can’t wait for next year!
  • And last but not least, we hosted our first ever Kiss Goodbye to MS Secret Garden event at The Grounds of Alexandria. Not only did we raise vital funds for MS research, but it was a night to celebrate you, our Kiss Goodbye to MS family! Fairy lights, inspirational speeches, flowers, kisses and live performances, a night to remember and we may be already thinking of ideas for next year…

These are just some of our highlights from 2018. Really, there are so many that we can’t name them all, but we want you to know that all this wouldn’t have been possible without your dedicated and passionate support. You always have our back and go above and beyond for MS research – THANK YOU!

We are forever grateful for every single one of you, so let’s celebrate the end of the year and ring in the New Year to come!

2019… we are coming for you!