“ALS Hero” is a series focusing on highlighting notable PALS who have made an impact on their communities and the world at large.
Texas-born Eric Martinez would describe himself as a father, educator, doctor, mentor and friend. But in 2018 he added ALS patient to that list.
Nobody ever wants to be labeled as an ALS patient but I believe that through this terminal diagnosis, God is giving me a second chance at life.
Eric’s goal has always been to to inspire and prepare children of limited economic resources to succeed in school and lead their communities. He says “there is no greater gift than seeing a young student with few resources, achieve their full potential”. Eric taught his students to work hard and persevere because, after working tirelessly to earn his PHD, he knows what’s possible. “My ALS diagnosis has only helped me further model that example. I do not let the challenges ALS presents to me stand in the way of my life’s work”. Today, he mentors student teachers and interns at University of Texas Permian Basin and hopes to instill in them the same values he’s learned throughout his my career.
Speaking to the kindness of the ALS community, Eric went on to explain how a man, who’d recently lost his wife to ALS, had donated all of her medical equipment and accessible van to him in her honor. “His gifts have allowed for me to be independent, still work, and be a member of my community. I will never forget his kindness and will continue to pay it forward”.
Eric ended by sharing an important life lesson- “If there’s one lesson I have learned in my life, it’s that you can never give up. And even though ALS is trying to beat me, I’m going to keep pushing to be the best example I can be to my family, friends and students. It’s what I’ve always been called to do.”