20 years ago Trevor Bolland had no reason to suspect that his life would take such a different path to the one he was on. He had just made the big move from New Zealand to Australia with his wife Christine and young daughter Monique and was working in the property industry.
Having always had an entrepreneurial spirit, in the late 1990s he went on to co-found an early stage internet company, quickly followed by a small chain of high-quality preschool centres in Sydney.
However, everything changed in 2005 when Monique – Trevor’s daughter and only child – was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at the age of just 23. Trevor recalls how, “her diagnosis was an enormous shock to our family. We found it incredibly difficult to accept her prognosis. As a result my mission became to provide support for her and to look for answers.”
Trevor sold out of the company he had co-founded and together with Monique, they travelled the world to speak with neurologists, scientists, naturopaths and everyone in between. This gave the pair an insight and knowledge that ultimately led to a deep appreciation for the value of nutrition in optimal health. Both Trevor and Monique subsequently established new careers in the health and wellness industry. This, combined with their entrepreneurial drive, eventually led them to found a plant-based nutritional supplement company – Nuzest. The commitment and passion that this father-daughter-duo poured into the company has since resulted in global success and the brand now being sold in over 17 countries.
This interest in nutrition and health extends to Trevor’s beliefs on an integrative approach to medicine; “diet, exercise and mental well-being proved to be a turning point for Monique in the early years when the medications available did not work for her. Today Monique leads a very full life due to breakthrough medications, supported by a very healthy lifestyle.”
His experiences with Monique led Trevor to become involved with MS Research Australia, which he has been a strong supporter of since its inception almost 15 years ago. During this time he has been actively involved in raising funds though a wide range of fundraising events, most recently for the Kiss Goodbye to MS campaign. He is also proud to say that MS Research Australia is the chosen charity actively supported by Nuzest.
“Our entire Nuzest team understands and supports the deep connection we have with MS Research Australia. They all train passionately for, and run in, Sydney’s infamous City 2 Surf to fundraise for MS Research Australia. And we aren’t just passionate about MS Research Australia locally, our global licensees have collectively purchased 9 tickets in this year’s Great Wall of China experience as an additional avenue for fundraising to support breakthrough research.”
When asked why he thinks MS Research Australia is so important for people with MS, he explains, “MS Research Australia is the largest not-for-profit organisation in Australia dedicated to funding and coordinating world-leading MS research that paves the way in discovering better treatment, the cause, a cure, and prevention methods. They provide education and knowledge, inspiration and support not just to people with MS, but their loved ones also. They give people hope.”
And while all those touched by MS want a cure, including Trevor, he is conscious that high on the priorities list is also having a better understanding of the cause and pathophysiology of disease to promote disease prevention initiatives around the world. This includes a need for significantly more epidemiological studies to understand how diet, chemical toxicity and lifestyle may trigger the disease and on how specific nutritional and lifestyle protocols have seemingly made miraculous differences to some people but not others.
“I know that any funds we raise for MS Research Australia are put straight back into funding world-class research and clinical trials focused on alleviating symptoms and potentially reversing the damage the disease has already caused for those previously diagnosed with MS. Any contribution, big or small, means the team at MS Research Australia are one step closer to the cure and that will be a truly remarkable moment.”
Trevor continues to campaign tirelessly to provide vital funding for MS research, acknowledging that although knowledge, understanding and treatment options have come a long way since Monique was first diagnosed, “breakthrough medications became available as a result of funding MS research and we remain hopeful that further research will find a cure for MS.”