Normally if someone challenges me to do something physical, my middle-child, Pisces personality shies away, uncomfortable with anything that feels even slightly confrontational.
A personal challenge for myself? I'm up for it. A work challenge? Bring it on. But when the challenge comes from outside myself, I hesitate. So I was surprised that when IHRSA challenged the fitness industry to do the Ice Bucket Challenge to raise awareness and funds for ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), I actually was excited to accept that challenge.
Perhaps it is because the cause is dear to my heart. I attended the first Bash for Augie's Quest, and I have been to all but one since then. I have watched Augie Nieto, who founded Life Fitness and is now chairman of Octane Fitness, as he battled ALS in the fitness industry eye, each year slowly losing more of his physical abilities. And I have watched in the past two years as he has regained some of those abilities. I was privileged to watch him work out at the Claremont Club in its Project Walk program last summer, and then to watch him this past March walk across the stage at the Bash for Augie's Quest. I hope to see him make even more progress at the Bash in 2015.
ALS also is personal to me because my sweet Aunt Doris passed from it more than two years ago after a quick but agonizing battle with the disease. I remember slipping a quick visit in to see her when I was in Seattle on business right after she received the diagnosis. As I pulled away from her house after a fabulous dinner, a great night of conversation and one of the best hugs I've ever received, I remember watching her standing in the lit doorway of her home, holding onto the door with one hand and waving to me with the other, knowing that that would be the last time I would see her. Less than six months later, she was gone.
So I accepted this challenge to help raise awareness of this disease and funds for its cure for people like my Aunt Doris and Augie. And I also have donated to the cause. You can do the same at the ALS Association's website or through Augie's Quest. As of Aug. 19, the challenge has helped the ALS Association raise $22.9 million between July 29 and Aug. 19, compared to $1.9 million during the same period last year. Take a look at some of the Ice Bucket Challenge videos from celebrities and our industry, courtesy of Augie's Quest. (This week, Snap Fitness CEO Peter Taunton accepted the Ice Bucket Challenge and challenged some of his vendor friends in the industry.)
And as you will see in my video (click here to view the video if you are on our mobile app), I have challenged the sponsors of our Club Industry Show to also do the ice bucket challenge and donate to the cause. Those sponsors are:
- ABC Financial
- The Abs Co.
- Body Metrix
- CSI Software
- Gym Wipes
- Gym Groups
- Jonas Fitness
- Reebok One
- Stairmaster and Schwinn Fitness
- What Gym
And if you haven't been challenged but would like to be, consider this your challenge, too. I promise you that it's only cold for a little bit. You can handle it. (P.S. This means you, Marty, Stuart and the show group!)