When you think about the fight against neurodegenerative diseases in Malta, ALS activist Bjorn Formosa immediately comes to mind.
The Maltese youth’s life changed completely when he was diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as motor neurone disease (MND) or Lou Gehrig’s disease, a disease that causes the death of neurons controlling voluntary muscles.
Since then, he’s dedicated his entire being to raising awareness on the serious challenges people living with ALS face in Malta. But more than anything, he has personally served as an inspiration for the Maltese islands and the Maltese people, already known for their generosity and caring nature.
Bjorn, his partner Maria and their team are raising funds for Dar Bjorn 2, a bigger and better home for people living with neurodegenerative diseases, with a massive marathon happening on 27th September on all national television stations.
But ahead of that, here are eight things you need to know about Bjorn Formosa.
1. Bjorn was diagnosed with ALS back in August 2015.
And ever since then, he’s been working tirelessly to find a cure for the condition and improve sufferers’ quality of life through the ALS Malta Foundation.
2. And he was key in setting up ALS Malta.
The organisation has been instrumental in raising awareness over MND issues in Malta, offering support to people and giving a well-needed sense of community to sufferers. They also help support research in this field.
3. Bjorn was initially given a prognosis of just two to three years.
However, he has powered through, showing incredible determination in the face of the deteriorating disease. More than that, he’s devoted his waking hours to finding a solution that could possibly stop the progression of the disease and find a cure for those who will be diagnosed after he passes away.
4. He took part in the viral ice bucket challenge in 2014 – and was diagnosed a year later.
But he rose to the occasion with a devoted spirit.
5. With up to 100 ALS patients in Malta, Bjorn is acutely aware that proper treatment and care are needed to give patients a life full of dignity.
Just recently, Bjorn himself noted there are 70 people alone on the waiting list to enter Dar Bjorn, a number that seriously needs to be addressed.
6. He set up Dar Bjorn, which caters to 13 people.
It provides 24/7 palliative care to the residents while giving them all the support they need when dealing with such difficult illnesses. Incredibly, it is free of charge as well – talk about giving back to the community.
7. Bjorn had started this mission with a book balance of just a few hundred euros.
Since then, he’s been able to raise millions in his mission to battle ALS in Malta.
8. Though he is near certain a cure for ALS will not be found in his lifetime, he is still 100% committed to this fight.
Bjorn is devoting his remaining energies and all his physical possessions to give a fighting chance to those who will be diagnosed after him.
9. The bond with his wife Maria is proof that love can overcome all obstacles.
This power couple has done so much good for Malta – but there’s still so much more to be done.
BONUS: He’s hosting a huge fundraiser Sunday 27th September – and he needs your help to make it as successful as possible.
Volunteer, donate or contribute with whatever means you can – show the world the indomitable spirit of the Maltese.