Augie‘s Bash


On Friday night, Pam, Jenn and I got all dolled up (no makeup here) and headed to the Black & Blue Bash For Augie's Quest, a fund-raiser to help find a cure for ALS, the disease that has stricken industry legend Augie Nieto.

The emcee was Summer Sanders, Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer. "Inside Stuff" co-host Ahmad Rashad wasn't around, but Bahram Akradi was. You might recall that Akradi, the CEO of Life Time Fitness, recently pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge after he allegedly cut off a kid in a high school parking lot, then tried to pull the kid from his car. At Friday's event, Akradi put up a bid of $50,000 for Augie's Quest and urged people to match it. (The event raised close to $2 million.)

The guest speaker was Mitch Albom, the sports columnist and author of the best-seller "Tuesdays with Morrie." It's hard to believe that it's been 10 years since Albom wrote about his college professor whom he befriended as he was dying from ALS. Augie thought it would be neat to get an autographed copy of the book, and when Albom heard about this and Augie's condition, he delivered one in person.

Like Akradi, Albom has had his share of controversy. Two years ago, at about this time, Albom was suspended from his newspaper, the Detroit Free Press, after he wrote a column that was factually inaccurate. He wrote about how two former Michigan State players were cheering on their team at the Final Four. The trouble was, they weren't at the game. I think if you're rich and/or famous like Akradi or Albom, you're able to get away with minor transgressions and still be able to do good deeds, like they did Friday night.

After an auction, where a couple of the prizes were a trip to next year's Beijing Olympics and a trip to the U.S. Open tennis tournament, John Ondrasik performed for the crowd. Ondrasik is lead singer in the band Five For Fighting, which is the term used in hockey when a player goes to the penalty box for five minutes after getting into a fight. Ondrasik, sans the other members of his band, played the band's three big hits, including "100 Years," which was set to a montage of Augie's photos throughout his life. A poignant song, a poignant individual, a poignant evening.

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