The Lalji Family Creates a $1 Million Endowment for Amyotropic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Research at Harvard University / Mass General Hospital

Dr. Shelena, Zade, Dr. Ayeez and Zoe Lalji with Dr. Merit Cudkowicz.

On November 19th, Dr. Merit Cudkowicz, the Chief of Neurology at Harvard and Mass General Hospital, joined the Lalji Family, close friends, stakeholders and experts in ALS at the Lalji Residence to honor and celebrate the Lalji family’s generous commitment to the Sean M. Healey & AMG Center for ALS. The Drs. Ayeez and Shelena Lalji ALS Endowed Awards Fund brings awareness and innovation to help find a cure for ALS. “We are excited about where this research will take us, and the opportunities the Lalji family is creating to expand the parameters of our work and our team,” said Dr. Cudkowicz.

The Lalji Family’s personal story with ALS started when Dr. Ayeez Lalji was diagnosed in 2017. His ALS was very aggressive and rapid, and the family was told by experts that he would likely only have 6 to 9 months. Dr. Shelena Lalji said, “We accepted the diagnosis, but not the prognosis.” Dr. Shel, as her patients refer to her, with her functional medicine training, has left no stones unturned, despite being diagnosed with breast cancer two years into their journey. They are now over five  years from the diagnosis and keep charging forward valiantly.

Through their focus on research, innovation and collaboration, they’ve successfully beat the odds thus far. During this time, the Lalji’s celebrated many special events, including their kids’ milestone birthdays, graduations and the couple’s upcoming 25th anniversary.

Dr. Lalji stated, “We do not choose our mission; our mission chooses us.” Once the shock and acute devastation of the ALS diagnosis passed, they put on their bootstraps and got to work by establishing The Lalji ALS foundation ( The Laljis have put together masterminds and conferences with experts from around the world, co-organized a groundbreaking Neuro-technology conference and created integrative and comprehensive treatment protocols to help Ayeez and hundreds of others living with ALS. Their amazing kids, Zoe and Zade, started “Speak Out with Silence” campaigns for the ALS Heroes who have lost their ability to speak. Zoe did a TedX Talk called “Tragedy to Transformation” and is working on Virtual Reality platforms for the disabled. Zade spent the summer doing ALS Research at Cambridge University. Both Zoe and Zade are committed to ALS research as pre-med students at UT Austin studying Neuroscience and Nutrition.

At the event, the Lalji family presented a gift of $1 million for an endowment at the Healey Center for ALS at Mass General to accelerate the efforts to find a cure for ALS. This Endowed Awards Fund allocates support in three areas: recognizing innovative efforts to restore function and regenerate neurons; encouraging the brightest young scientists to pursue research in axonal and neuronal repair in ALS and other neurodegenerative disorders; and celebrating the importance of designing and sharing effective protocols for clinical trials.

The Lalji family has focused their energies on making a significant difference despite their daily challenges, hoping that even if they aren’t the beneficiaries of that work, that it will help change the future for hundreds or thousands of other ALS families for years to come. For more information or to join the fight, go to