Augie Nieto and his wife, Lynne, are shifting management of the Augie's Quest fundraising initiative from the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) to the ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI), which is the group that receives the money raised by Augie's Quest.
The announcement was made today by the Nietos, the MDA and the ALS TDI. Augie Nieto, co-founder of Life Fitness, Schiller Park, IL, and chairman of Octane Fitness, Brooklyn Park, MN, also co-chairs MDA's ALS division with Lynne. ALS stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease, with which Nieto was diagnosed in 2005.
The transition to the ALS TDI is expected to take place in the first quarter of 2014. The MDA and ALS TDI say they will continue to support all currently scheduled Augie's Quest events, and that includes the ninth annual Bash for Augie's Quest, the fundraising dinner on March 14 in San Diego held in conjunction with the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) show.
"Lynne and I are excited to streamline our efforts and keep our mission focused on finding a treatment for ALS," Nieto told Club Industry today in an email. "We want to assure our supporters and donors, especially those in the fitness industry, that Augie's Quest will continue to treat donors as investors and provide quality service to all of our partners. The Bash event planned for IHRSA in March will continue as planned, and we look forward to seeing our fitness industry family."
Nieto, who also serves as chairman of the ALS TDI, called the MDA a "stellar organization" in a statement earlier today and added that the momentum built with Augie's Quest requires "a renewed and focused effort on increasing the amount of funds going to research and drug development."
The ALS TDI is the first nonprofit biotech and the largest independent ALS-focused drug development organization in the world. The MDA has funded research and drug development ventures at the ALS TDI.
"Augie has done remarkable work to raise both awareness and funds to support ALS," R. Rodney Howell, chairman of MDA's board of directors, said in a statement. "Because the funds are directed to ALS TDI through MDA's translational research grants program, it makes sense that the management of these operations be led by ALS TDI. We are grateful for the past partnership and look forward to building on our shared progress for the larger ALS community."
Augie's Quest has raised nearly $40 million since it was created in 2006.