Martha Slay

Co-Founder and Past President, FightSMA

Martha Slay had already had one career — as a mezzo-soprano opera singer who had performed in major houses across the country and even for a U.S. president — before she was pulled into the fight against SMA. After her son Andrew was diagnosed as a one year old, she turned her energy, faith, and gift for making connections to generating funding for SMA research. She and husband Joe launched FightSMA in Richmond, Virginia, in 1991 (then called “Andrew’s Buddies”). As president, she reached out to other SMA parents, eager to bring the fight to their own communities. With these extraordinary people, many of whom still serve as FightSMA board members, she has kept fighting for 25 years. In addition to fundraising, she has worked for more than 15 years on Capitol Hill, advocating for SMA research.