Tony Bloom’s battle with Multiple Sclerosis has a personal note to it. The famed Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club chairman, investor and businessman is married to Australian born psychologist Linda to whom he has a seven year old son with.
About fifteen years ago, she was diagnosed with the condition and was said to be in such a bad state that she could not even lift a pen or stand up from the couch.
Multiple Sclerosis or MS is a type of degenerative neurological disease and an immune-mediated disease in which the body’s immune system attacks the central nervous system affecting and disrupting the flow of information within the brain and between the body. Specifically, the attack is done to the myelin or the insulating covers of the nerve cells. The damage affects the cells of the spinal cord, and the brain.
MS is a disabling condition and this is observed in many of its signs and symptoms. Patients are reported to have varying types and combinations of these which often portray themselves in relapses. These includes vision problems, dizziness, fatigue, urination difficulty, balancing issues, spasms, numbness, muscle stiffness, oral and speaking problems, memory deterioration, emotional instability and worse complete paralysis. The condition does not on its own kill but with its symptoms can bring about other health problems.
In the United Kingdom alone, Multiple Sclerosis affects about 100,000 people. In the global scale, only 0.0357% or 2.5 million individuals are affected by it making it one of the rarest diseases of its kind. According to statistics, more women are affected than men and patients fall between 20 to 40 years old.
The sad thing is, there is no known cause or cure for MS as of today. Several practices and medication are given but they cannot cure the patient. They merely act as temporary relief or to deter a relapse. More often than not, they are very expensive too and may have other health consequences particularly directed to the liver.
To help individuals suffering from the same condition, Linda, with the support of her husband, set up the OMS (Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis) Foundation. To raise funds of £100,000 as well as awareness for the cause, Tony Bloom ran the 2011 and 2015 Brighton Marathon which was 42.195 kilometers long. The said marathon takes place every April of every year and is held in the seaside town of Brighton in England.