My name is Augie Nieto. I am 57 years old. I have ALS.
Perhaps you’ve heard my name before or have seen my story in headlines?
“Life Fitness Founder Battles ALS”, “A Fitness Mogul, Stricken by Illness, Hunts for Genes”, “Father Diagnosed With ALS Fulfills Dream Of Walking On Daughter’s Wedding Day”, “Augie’s Quest – A Moving Story, Despite Writing”, “Natalie Morales Inspired By Life Fitness Founder’s ALS Fight”, “Augie Nieto And That Crazy Ice Bucket Challenge”.
…My wife, Lynne, says that I love media attention. I don’t know where she gets this idea from?
Yes, I have been written about and interviewed countless times, but for reasons that I had never envisioned for myself.
I always had big dreams. I am the co-founder of Life Fitness, the leading fitness equipment manufacturer in the world. At the height of my career, it seemed that I was fulfilling my destiny. Little did I know that there was a bigger plan in store– a much more impactful one.
Today, my name is synonymous with the term ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) or Lou Gehrig’s Disease – a progressive neurodegenerative disease that attacks voluntary muscles, leaving patients unable to walk, talk, and eventually unable to breathe. The average life expectancy is two-five years after being diagnosed. Currently, there is no drug or cure for this terminal disease. ALS is weight so heavy, not even a “fitness mogul” can grasp.
This is my tenth year living with ALS.
I have decided to start this blog to share my experiences honestly, with others struggling along the same path. It’s a way to hear my voice without hearing my voice – to hear each other’s voices.
It’s been a long journey, but I have gained so much during the past decade living with ALS. I now see things that I may have overlooked before – simple things. Feeling the unconditional love displayed by my wife and children, overwhelming support from long time friends and the little joys of life.
Having ALS has inspired me and Lynne to do something positive with the diagnosis. We partnered with the ALS Therapy Development Institute, the world’s #1 research lab for ALS. This union has allowed us to streamline our efforts and make a bigger impact. Over the past 10 years, Augie’s Quest raised over $45 million dollars and continues to thrive.
ALS has been my greatest challenge, and soon to be my greatest accomplishment. I believe it is my purpose on this earth to help find a cure.
It is my hope that this blog serves as a platform for hope and guidance to other PALS and their loved ones.
ALS sucks, so let’s talk about it.