A unique way of giving back hope

OoH Oct 10, 2015, by Oceans of Hope News team in Events
From the event: "Barcelona"

On Friday October 9th Biogen hosted an educational dinner for neurologists and other health care personnel based in the UK and Ireland. Terry O'Regan, Vice President and Managing Director of the UK and Ireland at Biogen, gave a warm welcome to the guests acknowledging them for their dedication and perseverance in research, treatment and care. He proceeded to introduce Founder of Oceans of Hope, Mikkel Anthonisen, highlighting the project as a unique and innovative way of demonstrating the importance of giving back hope and dreams to people living with MS.

Mikkel Anthonisen delivered a clear message saying that the Oceans of Hope project insists on integrating the dimension of empowerment into healthcare by creating communities in which people living with MS are treated as assets, not as burdens. On Oceans of Hope the crew with MS are encouraged to contribute as much as they can and it always turns out that each individual is more valuable to the community than they had dared to imagine – a powerful discovery, which allows for them to recapture their sense of self, unlocking potential and new possibilities for the future. 

The message of encouraging people living with MS to dare to dream and set new goals resonated with the practitioners in the room many of whom shared experiences about the noticeable effect on people with MS who manage the shift in focus from disability to ability.

One person was interested to know how the crew with MS had handled the rough legs of the world circumnavigation and whether or not it had provoked relapses. According to Mikkel Anthonisen there have been no relapses on the journey and MS as such has had a small role to play on the boat. He did emphasize, however, that there is no scientific evidence to support this observation, but that it had been thought-provoking and moving to observe the increased level of vigour and sheer joy in the people with MS aboard the boat.

Mikkel Anthonisen said that he was excited about the ECTRIMS conference this year for its heightened attention to an integrated view on healthcare incorporating many aspects of treatment and care, including emotional and psychological aspects. He concluded his presentation by pointing to the future and the importance of continuing the spirit of Oceans of Hope by establishing sailing centres integrating empowerment, rehabilitation, education and treatment. According to him, developing such centres would be a sustainable way to anchor the many valuable lessons and experiences from the journey around the world and nourishing the networks that have been created between the MS world, the sailing world, and the healthcare world. Most importantly, it would give more people with MS and other disabilities the chance to belong to a community where getting treatment and learning new coping strategies would be combined with sailing, hope and dreams for the future.

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Mikkel Anthonisen

Mikkel Anthonisen

Founder, doctor and skipper