“You can either celebrate what you can do, or mourn what you can’t. Every day I wake up and create a new normal. I don’t dwell on what has changed, but instead, I focus on keeping busy achieving my goals.”

Augie Nieto

“While there’s life, there is hope.”

– Stephen Hawking, English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, author and Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology within the University of Cambridge

ALS, otherwise known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a debilitating disease that many never see coming. It’s a progressive neurodegenerative disease that typically begins with the slightest of changes to one’s daily routines. For some people, they may notice a change in their vocal pitch when speaking, for others, they may experience trouble trying to grasp onto objects or lifting things up. The gradual onset usually includes muscle cramps, spasms or twitching in the arm or leg, but the symptoms vary from case to case, making this disease hard to diagnose, as doctors have to rule out other diseases with symptoms similar to ALS.1

There are two types of ALS: sporadic and familial. Sporadic is the most common and accounts for about 90% to 95% of all cases. This means it can affect anyone, anywhere, at any time. Familial ALS makes up the remaining 5% to 10% and is inherited. The offspring of those affected with ALS have about a 50% chance of inheriting the gene mutation and developing this crippling disease. Every 90 minutes someone is diagnosed with ALS.2 A bit scary, right?

LA Fitness recognizes the importance of finding a cure for this devastating disease and partnered up with Augie’s Quest, an organization founded by Augie Nieto, Co-Founder and former CEO of Lifefitness. Augie was diagnosed with ALS in 2005 and has since worked relentlessly in finding a cure. Augie’s Quest funds the ALS Therapy Development Institute, which has made huge advancements towards finding a cure. Most recently, they have found an antibody therapeutic which “blocks specific immune cell activation and protects nerves against the progression of ALS and Alzheimer’s Disease.”3 While this is a major breakthrough for scientists and those living with ALS, there is still no cure.


On February 25th, all LA Fitness Group Fitness classes participated in an event called Action for ALS. From Bodyworks to Cycling to Kickbox Cardio to Yoga and Zumba® classes, our dynamic and diverse classes teamed up in the fight for a cure! Additionally, on Friday, February 24th, LA Fitness hosted three special Zumba classes at their Irvine Crossroads, Atlanta Brookhaven and Miami Flager locations, taught by marquee instructors. These special events featured a live DJ, complimentary snacks and giveaways. With the help of our caring and dedicated members, LA Fitness has been able to raise over $280,000 for Augie’s Quest since 2010. With your donations you helped those affected with ALS stay hopeful in the quest for a cure.

To continue these efforts, LA Fitness hosted an additional event following Action For ALS. On Saturday, March 11th, we held the Augie’s Quest Racquetball Tournament at the LA Fitness Santa Clarita location and raised an additional $2,040 – way to go guys!

If you still would like to donate or learn more about LA Fitness’ philanthropic efforts, please visit www.lafitnesscares.com.


To learn more about how ALS can impact a life, watch Chris Mehess story below.


  1. “ALS Therapy Development Institute.” ALS Therapy Development Institute. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2017. <http://www.als.net/what-is-als/>. 
  2. Ibid 
  3. “AT-1501.” ALS Therapy Development Institute. The ALS Association, n.d. Web. 21 Mar. 2017. <http://www.als.net/at-1501/>.




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