In most cases, personal battles especially those won over a rare health condition generate inspiration and motivation. But for Linda and Tony Bloom, their battle against Multiple Sclerosis inspired more than just that. In fact, they built a charity for it with the hopes of helping more people diagnosed with the said disease.
More than a decade ago, Linda Bloom, an Australian-born psychologist and wife to businessman-investor and Brighton & Hove Albion F. C. chairman Tony Bloom, was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). This degenerative neurological disease that affects the central nervous system and disrupts the flow of information within the brain and between it and the body is a disabling condition that is known to have varying effects and symptoms that often come in relapses.
The symptoms, their combination, frequency and gravity can vary from one patient to the next. They often include dizziness, vision problems, fatigue, muscle stiffness, spasms, balance problems, memory incapacity, emotional instability, bladder issues, speech difficulty, slurring, and even complete paralysis.
As of this writing, no specific cure or cause for MS has been discovered. The treatments and medications available in the market only serve to deter the relapses and prolong their life but never free them from the condition. Perhaps the most common would be a shot of steroids during a major relapse. It’s also so rare that it only affects about 0.0357% of the entire world’s population.
Linda’s case was so severe that she recalls not being able to pick up a pen or get up from her seat. She luckily met Professor George Jelinek who helped her go on a retreat where she followed an evidence-based diet and lifestyle approach to manage her MS and to help her have a much better quality of life. With the help of proper diet, adequate exercise, self-hypnosis and meditation yoga, she eventually got back on two feet.
The experience led her and her husband to set up a charity to help those suffering from the same condition thus the OMS (Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis) Foundation was born. Tony Bloom is no stranger to philanthropic work as he has already set up the Bloom Foundation beforehand with its advocacy on poverty. For the OMS foundation, he even ran and participated in the Brighton Marathon, a road race that takes place every April in Brighton on the south coast of England, in 2011 and 2015 to raise both funds and awareness for the charity.