From little acorns
Things are really happening at OMS. From little things, big things grow, as the saying goes, and that has been the case with our organisation.
Starting with the first book Taking Control of Multiple Sclerosis in 2000, to the residential OMS retreats beginning in 2002, through other retreats in Western Australia, the Australian Capital Territory, New Zealand, and more recently the UK, to the second book Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis in 2010 and the third book Recovering from Multiple Sclerosis in 2013 (note the progression ‘Taking Control’ to ‘Overcoming’ to ‘Recovering’).
This will probably culminate in the establishment of OMS as a global support group for people overcoming MS, with its own registered charitable trust in the UK, OMS has certainly come a long way. Linda Bloom, Chair of OMS, has been driving much of this recent development, along with trusty CEO Gary McMahon.
Linda’s own story is of course highlighted in the Recovering book, but many may be unaware of the incredible passion and enthusiasm she brings to the process of getting the OMS message out to the world, and of the vast range of activities she now spearheads.
Recent developments include the first one-day course for people with MS in the UK, run by specialist MS nurse Miranda Olding and meditation teacher Phil Startin, both of whom attended the Launde Abbey retreat in the UK last year, and plans to launch a new updated website sometime after the middle of this year.
Our Facebook page recently passed the 10,000 likes milestone, and we now have local Facebook OMS pages in many different parts of the world. In the background, outputs from the HOLISM study have been steadily appearing in the major neurology journals, and starting to receive the attention these important findings deserve.
Also with strong data showing the benefits of diet, healthy fat intake, fish consumption and omega 3 supplementation, smoking avoidance, and soon to be published, exercise, for people with MS.
Others in the pipeline on meditation, depression risk factors, fatigue, medications, and more, are not far from completion. To get the message out, OMS has started a publicity drive in the US, where we are much less well known than in the UK or Australasia. This is where I came in.
George's US tour
The last few weeks have been what our publicist calls ‘radio bootcamp’ for me. Because of time zone differences, some nights I am sitting up late at night after the rest of the house is asleep, with my headphones on, talking to some radio announcer in Virginia, or Boston, or New York.
And some days, I am up at sunrise the next day doing the same in some different location with a different announcer. Frankly it has been exhausting! But it has been quite an amazing journey.
What I have noticed is just how different it is being interviewed by a US radio announcer compared with an Australian one. A few of the interviews I have done over the years here in Australia really stick in my mind, particularly with our national broadcaster, ABC radio.
Australian interviewers seem to be by nature somewhat confrontational, and certainly very skeptical. They ask probing questions, demand justification, and are happy to jump in with a challenging comment.
They are certainly no sycophants to the medical profession. US interviewers on the other hand have, to a person, been open, interested, respectful, and very impressed with our research findings and program.
Differences in approach: Australia vs USA
They all say things like ‘Thank you so much sir for all that you do for humanity’, something I cannot imagine an Australian interviewer saying, and ‘We wish you continuing good health’, and ‘Wow, that’s an amazing finding’, and ‘Thank you so much for bringing this great news to our folks out there with MS’.
I have to say that despite the tiring schedule, I have enjoyed every minute of every interview. Last night I gave a 90 minute webinar to the Royal Australian College of Physicians on the OMS approach.
The physicians present were surprised by the strength of the research findings supporting the OMS approach. One rehabilitation physician, at the end of the webinar, said that it had been a life changing experience for her, and that her consultations with people with MS would never be the same.
Getting the message out
Our message is getting out, both to people with MS, and now increasingly to their physicians. Through all the avenues that we are pursuing, with the help of many of you who are overcoming MS and others who support us, we are starting to create serious momentum for change.
People with MS everywhere are starting to hear, loud and clear, that they can expect outcomes from MS that are markedly different from those traditionally associated with this disease, that overcoming MS is possible.
With rigorous attention to the OMS principles of healthy eating and healthy living, recovery from MS is now a realistic aim for many.