All last year, Lynne Nieto kept wondering if this would be the last birthday, the last Christmas, the last anytime she and her family would spend with her husband, Augie. That feeling began to dissipate, as it did for their son, in the wake of a breakthrough in research to fight ALS, which has plagued Augie for an amazing seven years now.
Lynne Nieto shared her renewed positive outlook during an emotional appearance at the seventh annual Bash for Augie's Quest, held last Friday at the JW Marriott in Los Angeles. That evening, it was announced that the event raised $1.452 million for ALS research, which eclipsed last year's total of $1.3 million. Today, the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) announced that the Bash raised more than $1.6 million. All told, Augie's Quest has raised $32.3 million since 2006.
Those funds have had a major impact in the research of ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Last year, ALS Therapy Development Institute (TDI) announced that it reached an agreement with Biogen Idec and UCB Pharma to jointly investigate a potential treatment for ALS. The two pharmaceutical companies are looking into an anti-CD40L antibody as a potential therapy for ALS. The breakthrough is partially due to the $23.1 million that Augie's Quest has given to ALS TDI in the past six years.
So there was plenty to celebrate at the Mardi Gras-themed event, attended by, among others, Lou Ferrigno, who is competing for MDA on the current season of "The Celebrity Apprentice." Nancy O'Dell of "Entertainment Tonight" served as the emcee, and comedian Tom Papa showed why he is a true professional, getting funnier throughout the set, mostly about life as a husband and a father.
Several health club owners were in attendance, including Curves co-founders Gary and Diane Heavin, who donated $100,000 to Augie's Quest plus offered the use of their private jet for an outing that was up for auction.
"The Bash was better than expected, and once again it showed tremendous support for what we all believe in when it comes to Augie's Quest," Augie said in a statement released today. "We're making progress in finding treatments and cures for ALS."