Advocacy Group Members

Meet our members

Professor Helen Rees Leahy (Chair)

Helen Blodwen

Helen was diagnosed with Primary Progressive MS in 1997. Being ineligible for any Disease Modifying Treatment (DMT) within the UK National Health Service, she began to explore holistic approaches to managing her condition. She discovered Overcoming MS in 2008 and has followed the programme ever since. 

Helen’s specific brief as a trustee of OMS is to be an advocate for people with MS, both within and beyond the OMS organisation. Her aim is to ensure that the knowledge and understanding of people with MS informs every aspect of the work of OMS, and that OMS reflects the diversity of lived experiences within the MS community. In turn, OMS has a role in ensuring that everyone with a diagnosis of MS is supported in learning about the benefits of active self-care in living well with MS. 

Linda Boueke 

Photo of Linda

Linda lives in Hamburg and volunteered to be an Ambassador immediately in 2017, because she wanted to help the OMS community spread further especially in Germany. 

In 2018 the OMS book was published in German which helped many German pwMS to read the book. Since then, her online Circle has been growing and 9 more circles in Germany have spread - some from original members of her circle.  

 

Allie Marwick 

Allie Marwick

Allie is originally from Edinburgh but now lives in Surrey. Whilst living in London in 2004 she had her first MS episode, but it was not until 2011 that she was formally diagnosed. Living in limbo for 7 years she buried her head in the sand and hoped nothing more would happen, but optic neuritis led to formal diagnosis and the necessity to accept that MS was to be part of her life. Not willing to sit and wait for the next episode she found Overcoming MS a few months later and has never looked back. 

Since finding OMS Allie has supported the organisation in many ways and in 2018 became an Ambassador for the Surrey Circle. Supporting the organisation that gave her so much after diagnosis and enables her to live a full life is really important to Allie and why she applied to become an Ambassador. 

Allie lives with her partner, Neil and is lucky to be able to work full time as a Salesperson for an IT Consultancy firm. She enjoys spending time in her garden, running (slowly) and is looking forward to returning to Covent Garden Royal Opera House to enjoy the Opera in the Autumn. 

 

Alex Tsirigotis 

Phot of Alex

Alex lives in North London with his wife and two children. He was a keen footballer, playing three times a week, when in 2012 he suffered a knee injury which kept him out of action for 6 months. During his rehabilitation he began to experience visual impairments when engaging in light physical activity. Following several medical referrals and tests, he eventually received a diagnosis of Relapsing-remitting MS in 2013. Discovering OMS shortly after diagnosis, Alex has embraced all aspects of the lifestyle for the past six years and despite not being able to continue playing football and contact sports, he developed a love for running and cycling and has successfully completed a London to Paris cycle, several marathons and an ultra-marathon, something his neurologist told him would not be possible in the early days of his diagnosis.  

Nicole Zobrist

Photo of Nicole

After being diagnosed with Relapsing Remitting MS in early 2020, Nicole began searching for practical steps she could take – in addition to medication – that would give her the best chance at living a full life with MS. She was also looking for a source of hope. That is how she happened upon Overcoming MS. 

Nicole lives in Washington state (USA) with her husband and puppy. She is self-employed as an accountant and consults with small businesses. She loves testing OMS-friendly recipes in the kitchen and searching for tasty vegan food when those recipes don’t work out. 

Since finding OMS, Nicole feels excited and hopeful for the future. Her goal is to bring awareness of OMS to others – whether they are living with MS or care for somebody living with MS. She wants others living with MS to know that the OMS program offers not only tangible steps to managing their MS but it also offers so much hope.