Local foundation wins grant to fight SMA

A local foundation started by a Santa Barbara couple fighting against the terminal disease afflicting their daughter has received a $100,000 grant after placing sixth in an online voting challenge.
 
Bill and Victoria Strong launched the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation in hopes of spurring on research into spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), the degenerative disease that has paralyzed their 2-year-old daughter.
 
“Although SMA kills more infants and young children than any other inherited disease, it has never had a national platform,” the couple said in a prepared statement. “The unique Chase Community Giving campaign has given SMA just that. This will have a material long-term impact on the future of this little-known but all-too-common disease, and we believe this will help move SMA from being on the cusp of a cure to being treatable and curable.”
 
The foundation had competed against tens of thousands of other charitable organizations for a portion of $5 million being offered through the grant program. It received 51,728 votes on Facebook.
 
The Strongs said they plan to put the funding toward research efforts and awareness campaigns, as selected by an advisory board.

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