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Launch Your Own Augie's Quest Fundraising Effort!

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Mike Alpert, Claremont Club President & CEOMike Alpert, Claremont Club President & CEO

As the month of March approaches, I look forward to two things: MLB Spring Training and our annual IHRSA convention, especially when it is in San Diego, one of my favorite cities in the United States. Like many of you, the opportunity to meet old friends and make new friends, as well, as to soak in all the education I can makes IHRSA a can't miss event. Importantly, it also allows me to attend and support Augie's Quest on the Friday evening of the convention. That is why I want to dedicate this article to my dear friend and industry icon, Augie Nieto.

I have known Augie for 29 years, but it was in 2014 that I grew to respect and admire him in a much different way. Prior to that time, I knew him only as the Founder and Owner of Life Fitness, one of the world's largest manufacturers of cardio and strength equipment. He used to visit a club that I was running in Irvine, California. My recollection of him back then was of a man who dressed well, drove very expensive cars and definitely did not fly "coach" when traveling.

In 2005, he was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease). ALS is an absolutely horrible disease that affects approximately 5,600 people in the United States each year. It is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord, eventually leaving the victim completely paralyzed, shutting down major organs and the ability to swallow and breathe. There is currently no cure, and the expected life span of a person with ALS is 2 to 3 years.

Over the following years, Augie began to experience these terrible effects of ALS: his speech became slurred and difficult; his muscles began to atrophy; he began having trouble walking; and eventually, he was confined to a power chair and able to communicate only through a computer that he controls with the balls of his feet. Each year that I went to IHRSA, I knew about his event (Augie's Quest), but I never attended it. Like I said, 2014 changed all of that for me.

Then, like I said, all of that changed for me in 2014 when Augie heard about The Perfect Step at The Claremont Club and came out with his caregivers for a visit. This is when I saw Augie as a human being who was very focused on making a difference in the world and was passionate about being able to help find a CURE once and for all for this horrific disease called ALS. He was putting his entire soul and brilliant marketing and business sense towards this goal.

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