Around fifteen years ago, Tony Bloom, famous businessman, wealthy investor and chairman to the Brighton and Hove Albion F.C., received a blow to the stomach. Figuratively, that is.
Married to Australian born psychologist Linda who happens to have been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, Tony recalls the process to be painful emotionally and physically.
Multiple Sclerosis or MS is a chronic, unpredictable and often progressive disease that comes in the form of relapses that affects the central nervous system. It attacks and destroys tissues in the brain and spinal cord. To be specific, it comes as a misdirected attack from the immune system that targets the white, fatty material that coats nerve fibers called the myelin. Myelin is important as it insulates and speeds the transmission of nerve signals relaying information into, within, and out of the brain and spinal cord. When damaged or destroyed, the flow of the said signals results to a variety of neurological problems including numbness, blindness and paralysis.
What’s interesting and also alarming about MS is the fact that it has no known cause or definite cure. Its symptoms are different for each patient and vary in severity and duration. Some of these symptoms include tingling, numbness, weakness, balance and vision problems, tremors, fatigue, lack of coordination, spasticity, slurred speech, bowel or bladder problems, troubles with memory or reasoning, depression and partial or complete paralysis among others.
Although Multiple Sclerosis has a number of symptoms that create severe disability and discomfort, it does not exactly shorten a person’s life span. However, the symptoms over time can result to other complications.
In Linda Bloom’s case, Tony remembers her first months to be so awful that she could barely move her limbs. Getting up from a couch seemed impossible and lifting a pen was too herculean an effort. At present and with the help of proper diet, adequate exercise, self-hypnosis, meditation yoga, and a lifestyle geared towards health and optimism, she has gotten her condition in control and is doing better.
It is for the same reason why Linda and Tony Bloom set up the OMSF which stood for “Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis Foundation” together with fellow trustees Joe Murray, Marc Sugarman and Marcelle Lester. It is a charity geared towards helping patients afflicted with MS make better informed decisions and improve the state they are in.
In a bid to raise awareness and funds for the cause and the OMSF, Tony Bloom has run two Brighton Marathons, one in 2011 and the other in 2015.