Tim Cobb was a bit of a fitness nut. He ran with his dog every day, had completed a handful of marathons and was regularly spotted lifting weights in the gym.
So when he nipped in for a sports physio appointment to sort out a sore back, he was stunned when the healthcare advisor said he probably had multiple sclerosis (MS).
A quick online search filled in the blanks in his knowledge - he discovered MS as a degenerative, debilitating, incurable disease that would probably knock 10 years off his life and see him ending his years in a wheelchair.
He went into denial. He didn’t talk about it and certainly did not want to tell his three teenage sons. His wife Sue was his rock during a rather bleak time. It was Sue who came across an organisation called Overcoming MS and bought him a book about how some doctor in Australia suggested that MS was not that bad and manageable.
After a brief glimpse at the book, Tim decided reading it was too much hassle. It suggested a change of diet, a change of lifestyle, taking up meditation and even yoga!
Tim continued living in denial but MS continued its destructive path. Tim suffered numbness in different parts of his body, stiffness around knee joints and a loss of peripheral vision. He was forced to stop driving for a period of time.
Two relapses later, and his only option appeared to be a lifetime commitment to MS disease modifying drugs.
Through a series of strange coincidences, he once again found himself looking at the OMS approach as a way of tackling his condition. Sue encouraged him to give it a try and in reality he had nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Tim overhauled his diet, changed his lifestyle, took up meditation and even bloody yoga. Sue persuaded a reluctant Tim to attend a week-long OMS retreat.
Fast forward to the present day. Ever since embracing the OMS pathway, Tim’s health has never been better. Significant lifestyle changes, strong family support, and a healthy diet later, Tim is fighting fit with no relapses to report.
He is back running every day with his dog, has completed a local half marathon and cycles with friends most weekends. Tim describes OMS as helping him to climb out of a dark hole.
Significantly, he is now open to talk about his illness and equally passionate about passing on the life-changing news that there is a lot people can do to slow down or even halt the progress of MS.
Deciding whether to disclose your MS diagnosis is an incredibly personal decision. When Tim Cobb chose to do so, four years after his diagnosis, it was to a room of 155 business leaders, all of whom attended an OMS fundraising lunch he was hosting at the AmEx football stadium in Brighton.
Each one of them gave him their support and confirmed that his diagnosis changed nothing. Tim is the Managing Director of Cobb PR, an award-winning communications company based in the south east of England, and for the first few years after his MS diagnosis he simply didn’t want to talk about it.
Vital to Tim is reaching the people with MS who have not yet discovered OMS, and communicating to them its message of hope. Tim is now an OMS Ambassador and helps raises funds for the charity.
OMS CEO Gary McMahon commented,
“Tim Cobb walks the talk in so many ways. His ability to raise much-needed funds for our work is truly wonderful.
"In addition, his openness about his diagnosis serves as an inspiration to others to challenge the uncomfortable stigma that so many people with MS still feel."
Tim Cobb, Eastbourne
- Relapse - In MS, the appearance of new symptoms or the aggravation of old ones, lasting at least twenty-four hours (synonymous with attack, relapse, flare-up, or worsening).