Christopher Wells Hobler was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) in 2001 at the age of 35. Wanting to take action, Hobler, a father of three, founded ALS Hope -The Chris Hobler/James Maritz Foundation. The same devastating disease had also claimed the life of his grandfather, James A. Maritz, Sr. The Foundation’s goal was to quickly find a cure for ALS patients by funding innovative research and inspiring scientific collaboration. Two years later, ALS Hope was renamed Hope Happens, and it teamed with Washington University School of Medicine to open the Hope Center for Neurological Disorders, a center of translational research dedicated to finding the causes and cures for debilitating nervous system diseases.
Prior to his ALS diagnosis, Chris, a professional singer/songwriter living in New Hampshire, performed nationally with his rock-and-roll band, Sonic Joyride, and released four albums. The band gained national acclaim from MTV, CNN and Billboard while touring the country in a retrofitted, concert-ready school bus, covering 30,000 miles and playing 240 dates on a self-financed voyage to the American heartland.
“Instead of viewing this as a tragedy, I try to view it as an opportunity,” Chris once told an interviewer about his condition. “If I hadn’t been stricken with ALS, I would have spent my life with my music. Now I have the opportunity to do something even more important. Happiness, purpose and contentment come from between your ears, not from circumstances that surround you.”
Chris lost his battle with ALS on February 16, 2005. His devotion to the cause, however, lives on through his loving family, whose generosity has made The Christopher Wells Hobler Laboratory for ALS Research possible.
The Christopher Wells Hobler Laboratory for ALS Research is yet another step forward in the Hope Center’s goal of discovery and translation through cutting edge, collaborative research. Dr. Timothy Miller, one of the nation’s foremost researchers on ALS, is the first director of the Christopher Wells Hobler Laboratory for ALS Research.