We are Hana and Sarah, and we have recently joined the OMS ranks as Volunteer Co-ordinators. Being volunteers ourselves, we are well placed to offer real understanding and support to our fellow OMS volunteers, backed up by guidance from Grazina and OMS HQ.
I am an event project manager, traveller, and, most importantly, a health freak. I joined the OMS team after seeing an Instagram post with a call for volunteers. It felt like this was one of those things you don't want to miss out on, and it really was. And why?
I have started following the OMS programme after being told I have something that could be MS. After reading everything about the brain, neurons, nutrition and health benefits of a plant-based diet and finding the OMS website, I decided to try it. What could I lose, right? However, I decided to go hardcore - I primarily ate raw, but I kept eating fish and took approx. 30 vitamin pills daily for about a year. I also crossed out a few activities from my calendar but kept travelling. I didn't want to give up on my life entirely.
My efforts slowed down the progression, and I decided not to be that strict anymore. Now, after five years, many OMS-friendly recipes, litres of flaxseed oil, hours of yoga and journaling, my neurologist told me that whatever I have been doing I should keep doing and I was put on to a ‘let's observe’ folder indefinitely.
I have to say that this was one of the best decisions I have ever made. There are parts of the programme that can be challenging, as it is with daily meditation for me, but I am grateful that a programme like this exists. Not only was I shown and told what to do, but I was offered the best community of likeminded people one can wish for. I am grateful to be a Volunteer Coordinator and help to bring more likeminded people on board.
I was first introduced to OMS by a friend a few years ago – I read the book, and started some of the steps in a bit of a half-hearted way, not really ready to let go of cheesy pizza just yet… This all changed after I attended the OMS Ammerdown retreat in July 2019 – I must admit, not without a certain amount of trepidation about what I would encounter. The week unfolded into an emotional rollercoaster, packed with information, case studies and often surprisingly delicious OMS friendly meals, and most importantly, an introduction to many great friends and a tremendous support network. I would describe the experience as fairly life changing, and people who know me, know I would never normally say that kind of thing!
Alongside my work for OMS, I keep myself busy as an active board member of my local cinema, and as a freelance creative consultant working on various projects. I also spend a lot of time in my garden – doting on small plants and trying to stop snails from eating them, watching the bees and plotting the coming seasons. I live with two dogs, Miles and Nico, who are inspiring examples of mindfulness. They’re not always easy to deal with - they can be tiresome and demanding as much as they are loyal and endearing - but happy greetings and wagging tails even in the depths of lockdown has been quite a sanity saving thing.
My professional background is in small creative companies, mostly working with filmmakers and artists. I was the director of London Short Film Festival for 5 years, where I focussed on developing exciting projects which looked to question the status quo and push conversations around inclusion, diversity and creativity. I gained lots of experience in mentoring young people, staff and established artists, meeting brilliant friends and colleagues along the way.
It’s great to be working with Hana, Grazina and the rest of the team, and I’m really looking forward to meeting all the OMS champions out there, and helping to spread the good word.