Image from the Hope Center - Learn More


Hope Happens was founded in 2002 as ALS HOPE by Christopher Hobler and his family after he was diagnosed with ALS in 2001, the same disorder that took the life of his late grandfather, James A. Maritz, Sr., and his cousin, Christopher Rice, of Houston, Texas.

The foundation soon changed its name to Hope Happens to emphasis its focus on all neurological disorders.

In November of 2004, Hope Happens partnered with Washington University to launch the Hope Center for Neurological Disorders at Washington University in St. Louis, a research center dedicated to speeding the process of translating basic scientific discoveries into therapies and cures. Both partners are convinced that discoveries in one disorder will lead to progress with others.


 Board of Directors

  • Hannah Sayers,  President
    (Marketing Director, Lewis Rice)
  • Josh Reinert, Vice-President
    (Principal, Carmody MacDonald P.C.)
  • Karen Cash, President, Creative Services
  • T. William Hizar, Principal, Edward Jones
  • Christopher Imming, Treasurer
    (Regional President, Midwest BankCentre)
  • Hilary Murphy
    (Consultant, Isagenix)
  • Leigh Hobler Gerard
    (Counselor, St. Louis Psychoanalytic Institute)
  • Jen Therrien
    (Partner at Greensfelder and Leader of the Construction Industry Group)
  • Colby Schmid, (Senior VP of Commercial Banking Citizens National Bank)
  • Abigail Miller (Digital Marketing Specialist)
  • Jennifer Everly (President, Everly Accounting)
  • Julie Lynch, Communications Officer (Myovant Sciences)
  • Patrick Cullity (Stryker)
  • Mark Menghini (General Council, Aegion)


Gabriela Inderwies, MA (Director of Development)

Wendy Chromoga (Director of Operations)

Hope Happens News

New drug shows early promise against inherited form of ALS

Great news from the Hope Center - Tim Miller, MD, PhD, who is one of the nation’s foremost researchers on ALS, developed an experimental drug (tofersen) for a form of genetic ALS that is now moving into a Phase 3 clinical trial. Phase 3 is designed to further evaluate...

Mourning the Loss of Jean Maritz Hobler

It is with deep sadness that we share the news that Jean Maritz Hobler, founder and emeritus board member of Hope Happens,  passed away on November 15, 2019. Jean, with her son Chris and other family members, founded what would become Hope Happens in 2002. Initially...