I was told that the OMS stand was the busiest of all the booths at the 2016 MS Life exhibition in London last weekend.
Setting the scene
The fact that I never actually managed to make it around the rest of the hall to see for myself, as there were always a number of people waiting to talk to one of us, meant I didn’t doubt it for one second.
From the “What’s this about then?’ to the “I’ve been on OMS for two years and wanted to tell you what a change it’s made..” With a couple of “I’m on the program but can you explain this further?” and even some who needed to tell us where they feel we’re failing them, we were visited by the newly diagnosed to the OMS old-timers. And also a few passers-by who were simply enticed by the bountiful platter of fresh fruit Ulrike had placed in front of all our printed information.
They went away digesting both. And all the while, our Stories of Hope videos, and the explanation of the program by George Jelinek rolled on a big screen in the background, so that those waiting to talk to us were already beginning to understand the OMS origins and many of its outcomes.
An abundance of hope
I found myself turning to ‘introduce’ Professor Jelinek to interested parties during my own discussions a number of times, and whenever I spotted Linda Bloom on screen I’d recount her story and almost see the hope rising in those who simply couldn’t believe her recovery.
Oh, and due to a slight technical hitch with the volume settings, we all span around every time Sophie Jackson’s amplified story came on. I’m sure most of MS Life was familiar with her name by the end of the afternoon. (Ah those Jacksons, they do get themselves noticed!)
'In fact, there were a few wide eyes whenever I mentioned that I, and most of the volunteers on our stand, had MS ourselves. Suddenly, it seemed, we weren’t just "doling out advice". We were in it with everyone else, and we were all doing well, and people really wanted to hear our own personal stories and ask us how "we" managed with various parts of the program.'
We're all in it together
In fact, there were a few wide eyes whenever I mentioned that I, and most of the volunteers on our stand, had MS ourselves. Suddenly, it seemed, we weren’t just ‘doling out advice’.
We were in it with everyone else, and we were all doing well, and people really wanted to hear our own personal stories and ask us how ‘we’ managed with various parts of the program.
And if ever there was an advert for the energy with which the OMS program fills you, it was evident that day. The team talked, informed, stood, listened, and on the odd occasion laughed, all day long. And some even did it for two days on the trot.
Buzzing at the OMS stand
Not me though (slacker), I could only make the first day but actually, I wished I could have gone back again. There was a definite buzz at the OMS stand (one which had nothing to do with the dodgy volume settings on the telly), a huge amount of positivity, and the hope that not only comes with recovery on the OMS program, but also a hope that we provided all the information and answered all the queries that we needed to.
If you came to our stand that weekend, then thank you so much for stopping. If you’d never heard of us before you did, then tell us whether you’re beginning to embrace the program, or if you need any further queries addressed.
If you knew us already, then comment below with what you might have taken away (along with the fruit).
And if you’re one of the team who helped OMS that weekend (and whom I’m reluctant to list for fear of missing a single person out – and the fact I didn’t meet you all, see ‘slacker’ comment above) then do add your own thoughts on the event.
Picture at the top: OMS CEO Gary McMahon poses with helpers. Left to right: Jurgen, Gary McMahon, Alex, Yvette and Kemal