Our Mission

The Martha Olson-Fernandez Foundation is committed to funding innovative research that aims to develop effectual treatments and ultimately find a cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The foundation is dedicated to raising awareness of ALS and providing financial assistance to underserved patients on the Central Coast of California.

What is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)? 

ALS is a fatal, progressive, degenerative neurological disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord (ALSA). It is known colloquially as Lou Gehrig’s Disease and brought further into the public eye by the Ice Bucket Challenge which went viral in 2014. The lifetime risk of developing ALS is 1 in 300 by the time you are 85 (NIH). If you are interested in learning more about ALS, such as who gets it and common symptoms of the disease, visit this page hosted by the ALS Association. 

Our Motivation

Martha, loving wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend to all, battled ALS for two years before it took her life. She vowed to never give up and her family promised to fight for her, and all other victims of this relentless disease, until a cure is found.

Why the Central Coast? 

While MOFF provides ALS research grant funding on a national level, MOFF patient care services are focused on the Central Coast of California. According the ALS Network, over 90 people are living with ALS on the Central Coast in any given period of time (2023). This is a large number when compared to the national prevalence rates: 9.1 per 100,000 individuals (CDC).

Additionally, interdisciplinary clinics are traditionally located in major cities such as Los Angeles and San Fransisco which makes access to high quality care difficult and require travel if you are located in between.

The overall financial burden of the disease can cost ALS families over $200,000 in out of pocket expenses per year (AJMC). MOFF efforts strive to offset these disease related costs.