A member of the FightSMA board of directors for nearly two decades, board secretary Elise Finkner is the mother of three girls and the grandmother of five. Her nephew, Andrew Slay, was diagnosed with Type 2 SMA. Elise is a retired middle school director, counselor and teacher, with particular experience teaching in gifted programs. A graduate of Averett University and with a Master of Science degree in counseling from Longwood University, she has a special knack for helping people navigate through tough life transitions. Her husband, now retired, was a firefighter for 32 years. She brings the invaluable perspective of a close family member who is able to translate love and concern into practical engagement, a model for action from which others can benefit.