PAE News

The Red Balloon – closing of the project

Joop Van Griensven, the president of PAE, and a chronic pain sufferer himself had this to say about the launch of the Red Balloon Project in 2016: “Chronic pain patients are not visible within European society although it is the most prevalent health condition. It is also the most common reason why people are visiting their GP and yet it is not well known by health care professionals, the policymakers, the politicians and the General Public. This lack of awareness is astonishing given that almost everyone has some kind of contact with it – whether they suffer from chronic pain, know someone with chronic pain, care for someone with chronic pain or work with someone with chronic pain. With this project we would like to increase public awareness around chronic pain and its management and try to get them involved in changing the situation for the better.”

Following its goal “to Improve pain management across Europe”, The Red Balloon Campaign was launched at the Annual “Societal Impact of Pain” (SIP) symposium, entitled “SIP 2016: Time For Action!”. Pain Alliance Europe has developed this project in collaboration with Boston Scientific.

The campaign’s powerful symbol was the red balloon being filled with pain and then released. The participants have taken pictures with a red balloon, either releasing it or bursting it to #releasethepain.

The mission of the project was to raise awareness around chronic pain, the people affected and its impact on the global community, to engage people around the issue, activating conversation, understanding, and outreaching but also to trigger change via meetings and events in the EU Parliament.  It delivers a powerful message to policy makers and healthcare providers that a change needs to occur to provide better pain management to patients across Europe.

The power of social media was leveraged as a tool to bring the European community together for the cause. One year after, the project has the following accomplishments to report:

  • 6.5M people reached
  • 2300 Balloon released
  • 6300 website visitors

The event closing the project has taken place in Malta during the SIP Symposium, the participants were invited to burst out red balloons and to share their insights related to chronic pain in powerful short messages left on a red balloon wall.



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