Health club owners and staff are taking part in multiple fundraising efforts to find a cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, as a possible treatment for ALS enters Phase 1 clinical trials this quarter.
The efforts include participation in Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathons and the annual Bash for Augie's Quest at the IHRSA show.
The ALS cause is close to the heart of many people in the fitness industry because Augie Nieto, co-founder of Life Fitness, was diagnosed with ALS 13 years ago. Augie and his wife Lynne have made it their mission to find a cure for ALS, founding Augie's Quest, which raises money for ALS research. The funds go to ALS Therapy Development Institute, an organization that is seeking a treatment and cure for ALS.
AT-1501, a possible treatment for ALS created by the research institute, finished primate trials last year and will enter human trials this year, according to Lynne Nieto, who appeared with Augie on a November episode of the TV show "The Doctors."
In that appearance, Lynne said that Augie's Quest has raised $60 million in 13 years.
Part of the money for AT-1501 came from the funds raised by TeamQuest4ALS groups. Health clubs put together teams of employees and members who ran one or more of four Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathons, each runner securing donations from friends and family. Those donations amounted to $1.1 million in 2017, all of which went to ALS Therapy Development Institute.
This year, the Team has four half marathons planned in which any health club can form teams to participate as part of TeamQuest4ALS:
- March 3-4 - New Orleans Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon
- June 2-3 – San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon
- Sept. 15-16 - The Philadelphia Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon
- Oct. 20-21 - The Denver Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon
The group also has two half marathons set so far for 2019:
- March 2019 - New Orleans Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon
- April 2019 - The Nashville Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon
Health club operators who want to participate can register their teams by going here.
Members of the fitness industry also will raise money for ALS research at the annual Bash for Augie's Quest on March 23 at the San Diego Marriott Marquis. The event, which is part of the IHRSA show, includes a cocktail hour, a silent auction, dinner, an awards presentation and a live auction. To register for the event, go here.
Augie's story is being told in a documentary , "Augie," that will be available on iTunes and Amazon beginning March 20. The documentary, which made the film festival circuit last year, received the Audience Award at the Nashville Film Festival and Best Documentary Award at the 33rd Boston Film Festival. The film follows the Nietos on their journey with ALS and to find a cure for the disease.