Our Founder: Mathilda Karel Spak

mathilda karel spak

With great sadness, we announce the passing of Mathilda Karel Spak, a woman who dedicated her life to finding a cure for Myasthenia Gravis. The most senior MG volunteer in the nation, Mathilda devoted thousands of hours to fund raising, public awareness and patient assistance. She lived to almost reach the age of 104.

If you were fortunate enough to know Mathilda, you knew that there was no one like her. Mathilda was unique, one of a kind and there is no one who can replace her. Sadly, an era has ended.

The Mathilda Karel Spak Memorial Fund has been established to commemorate this great lady.

Excerpt from A Purposeful Life, The LIfe Story of Mathilda Karel Spak Centenarian:

After my husband's death, I made the decision not to team up with a new business partner. It was during this time of additional responsibility in my life, that Mother developed a mysterious ailment. 

For the next 20 years, my sister and I traveled around the country trying to find a name for Mother's medical condition. Since I often needed to be away on business, I left my trusted secretary to run the office for me.

Mayo Clinic was among the many medical facilities we visited. We left all of them without an answer. Feeling totally without direction, I asked a doctor friend for his advice. He suggested that we return to the Mayo Clinic and tell them we were not leaving until they found out what was wrong with Mother. 

So in the middle of a bitterly cold winter, the three of us packed up and headed back to the clinic. I met an intern who had heard about Mother's condition and thought he might know what was causing it. He warned, that because of her weakened condition, the injection could possibly prove fatal. We wanted Mother to make her own decision.

By this time, Mother was so ill that she could no longer speak, but she could understand what was being said to her. I told her to blink her eyes once if wanted medication or twice if she didn't. She blinked once. 

After the intern administered the injection, he asked us to take Mother outside and sit with her awhile. The nurse strapped her into a wheelchair so would not fall out. After a short time, Mother began to speak for the first time in weeks. The intern confirmed that Mother had MG. 

He asked us if we knew what MG was. I told him it was an automobile, whereupon, he explained the medical translation. Finally knowing what we were dealing with,we decided that Mother should stay at the clinic in order to get the best care possible. 

For the last ten years of Mother's life, she was bedridden and dependent upon special injections every hour. Watching her suffer, I made a promise to both of us that I would pursue research for a cure for this terrible affliction. I have been asking questions ever since. 

I started a research project. Today we are steadily moving closer to finding a cure. So much progress has been made that the prior 95 percent death rate from this disease is now down to 5 percent. 




Embed from Getty Images

• At 102 in 2003, Matilda, wearing a button with a picture of her mother, Anna Spak, arrived at the LA country Registrar’s office to turn in her papers to run for governor of California. She was sponsored by the 99 cent store and was running against, among others, Arnold Schwarzenegger

Help Mathilda keep her quest for a cure for MG alive with a donation in her name to Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of California:
6055 E. Washington Blvd., Suite #350, Los Angeles, CA 90040.


©2024 Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of California.