Our Story

The Martha Olson-Fernandez Foundation is a nonprofit organization established to fund amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patient care and research. Larry Fernandez and his wife, Martha Olson-Fernandez established the foundation in 2012 in order to find a cure for ALS. Martha was diagnosed with ALS in 2011 and after a tough battle with the disease, Martha passed away on December 17, 2012. She was 49 years old. Martha will always be remembered in our hearts as an incredibly strong woman who loved hiking, motivating others, and teaching life lessons beyond her years.  Donations collected by the foundation go directly to the ALS Association Golden West Chapter for patient care efforts and The ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI) for research efforts. Please read more about these two partnerships on the research and patient care pages. The Fernandez Family donated the first $100,000 they raised to the Forbes Norris ALS Clinic in San Francisco, California. Martha participated in a clinical trial for the ALS treatment, NP001, at the Forbes Norris Center in 2011 and 2012. The Martha Olson-Fernandez Foundation is run today by Larry and his two daughters, Natalie and Andrea. Please join them in fighting to find a cure for ALS. 

Martha Olson-Fernandez Memorial Bench

The Fernandez family is very pleased to announce that on March 12, 2015 a memorial bench in honor of Martha Olson-Fernandez was installed on Felsman Loop in San Luis Obispo, CA. Martha was an avid hiker and a strong advocate of both personal health and living an active lifestyle. Her energetic spirit and self-motivation inspired many people in her lifetime. Our annual hike x brunch event honors Martha’s hiking legacy.

Martha’s Memorial Bench is located on Felsman Loop which can be accessed by the trailhead near 787 Patricia Drive in San Luis Obispo, CA

Our team

Larry Fernandez

Director, CEO

Larry is currently an executive for a private vegetable seed company. He has been an entrepreneur in the seed industry for 35 years. He is the proud father of Andrea and Natalie and enjoys watching them pursue their education and practical learning through their job experiences. When time allows, Larry enjoys hunting and fishing. His desire is to find a cure for ALS.

Natalie Fernandez

Director, CFO

Natalie completed her MBA degree in Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Business at The University of the Sciences in Philadelphia in June 2019. She holds an undergraduate degree from NYU in Communicative Sciences and Disorders and Spanish. In her free time, she is a Lagree Method Instructor and a volunteer for hospice. Natalie is actively seeking a job within the pharmaceutical industry in San Diego. She hopes to find a job that combines her ALS research knowledge with her patient advocacy skills. 

Andrea Fernandez

Director, Secretary

Andrea is currently working for Plaid in San Francisco, California. She earned her B.S. at California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo. Andrea chose to live abroad and teach in Spain for a year prior to moving to San Francisco. She is currently enjoying the NorCal city lifestyle and looking forward to all that is to come.

Ian Parkinson

Board Member

We are very excited to welcome San Luis Obispo County Sheriff, Ian Parkinson, into his second two-year term as a member of the Martha Olson-Fernandez Foundation Board. Ian has served as Sheriff since 2011 and is well known in the community for this tireless efforts to improve the law enforcement processes of SLO County. Ian knew Martha Olson-Fernandez and has been a supporter of MOFF since 2012. We are very grateful for his commitment to help us carry out our mission to fight ALS through patient care and research. We look forward to his insights as well as his networking skills and community outreach tactics. We look forward to collaborating with you Ian!

Cheri Humphrey

Board Member

Cheri Humphrey recently joined the MOFF board! Stay tuned for her updated biography.