Augie Nieto: From Diagnosis to Augie’s Quest

A different kind of innovator

When we envision a titan of industry, we often think of a serious, iron-fisted business mogul residing behind a long, polished table in a high-rise boardroom overlooking the world, disconnected from the everyday struggles and realities of the average person.

Augie Nieto shatters this mythological ideation of yesteryear’s out-of-touch tycoon with just a crack of his mischievous smile. He’s at the top of a very small class of unique, powerful, and innovative entrepreneurs who are successfully running their endeavors with a hands-on approach, creating and collaborating with people face-to-face in the most authentic of new business and philanthropic models.

With an ever-present twinkle in his eyes, Augie is the leader of this new school of tough-as-nails, hardworking, yet compassionate and empathetic CEOs and leaders with a certain sense of ethos not evident in previous generations. 

However, he’s extremely different from his counterparts.

Augie can’t walk.  

He can’t talk.

He can’t even pound his fist on that iconic boardroom table.

Augie has late-stage Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, most commonly known as ALS.  

ALS meets its match in Augie

That’s not entirely what makes Augie stand out from some of our most influential leaders. While Augie is no longer a mover and shaker in a literal sense, he is one of the most motivated and enigmatic people you will ever meet. 

You can see it in his eyes and the way he looks at a complicated problem, like a strategy in a chess game, where he’s working out his next move in his head.  Augie still does what Augie does best: he’s a thinker and creator. These immutable characteristics of Augie’s energetic mind are what fuels his tireless work and the incredible path he’s taken since his devastating ALS diagnosis in 2005 when he was at the top of his professional and personal game

Augie was in the prime of his life, at an ageless 47 years old, when this strong, adventurous, competitive specimen of a man started experiencing the early tell-tale symptoms of ALS. He and those around him were shocked to see his fit, toned, and youthful body reject the simplest of physical commands. To imagine his boundless physical energy and zest for outdoor adventure, travel, and his everyday freedom slipping away was immeasurable and would normally sink the strongest of wills.

However, Augie isn’t like most people. ALS picked a fight with the wrong guy.  

From entrepreneur to warrior philanthropist

Augie’s close friends and allies can all attest that ALS has met its match in Augie. His sheer will, competitive spirit, cutting sense of humor, and sharp mind that solved countless complicated business problems took over as Augie shifted gears to take on the toughest fight for his life and the lives of thousands of people living with ALS.

Augie has always been on some kind of quest. From his early, self-starter days launching a popular line of gym and fitness equipment under the renowned Lifecycle brand to ultimately becoming the founder and President of his very successful umbrella company, Life Fitness, Augie has always been a leader in lifestyle, exercise, fitness, and the pursuit of better health. He’s the original social influencer and branding guru of the health and fitness industry. 

By design, Augie was the perfect candidate to take on a disease like ALS.

After learning the stark reality that ALS is not only incurable but ranks extremely low in widespread support and research for treatment and cures, Augie set his sights on defeating his disease with the gusto and business acumen that launched so many successful past endeavors. With the same charisma and drive Augie brought to running his successful business and boardrooms, along with his deep network of close friends and influential connections, Augie began his new life’s work. He co-founded Augie’s Quest to Cure ALS and partnered with the ALS Therapy Development Institute in a multi-pronged attack on ALS. 

From the very start, Augie’s mission was clear and simple: to find a cure for ALS. Augie quickly learned that to find a cure, he needed to raise immediate funds and an urgent awareness to launch a full-scale revolution in ALS research. To learn that ALS was not only incurable but underfunded just wasn’t the answer Augie was looking for.

A game-changer in the fight against ALS

Early in his fight, Augie realized that awareness wasn’t going to be enough to change the abysmal ALS research landscape. It was going to take money —  a lot of money. 

With a powerful cadre of long-time friends, family, and business innovators, Augie founded one of the most effective and creative teams to face fundraising for ALS full-time. From events, corporate sponsorships, and good old-fashioned tireless networking and advocating, Augie’s efforts are beginning to pay off in a big way.

Since he first founded Augie’s Quest in 2005, his team has raised millions of dollars strictly for ALS research and still is. With the launch of their funding and support for the Augie’s Quest Translational Research Center at the ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI) in 2020, Augie’s Quest donors are literally changing the game in the fight against ALS. With their support, this groundbreaking research center is dedicated to continuing the quest by identifying new drugs like AT-1501 to fight ALS.

In keeping with a reputation for results, the Augie’s Quest Translational Research Center has integrated with the ALS TDI’s Precision Medicine Program (PMP), the most comprehensive and longest-running translational research study in ALS. PMP researchers study data collected from the Augie’s Quest Translational Research Center to develop a variety of personalized treatment approaches for individuals with ALS. Partnerships like this will ultimately lead to innovative therapeutic discoveries and new approaches to treating a spectrum of ALS patients.

Augie doesn’t take “no” for an answer

As we’ve come to learn, Augie is a lifelong competitor and doesn’t take “no” for an answer.  It’s that same stubborn tenacity that has allowed him to outlive his ALS diagnostic class of 2005.  Miraculously, he’s the only survivor left from that year. 

Sixteen years after his initial diagnosis, and outliving everyone’s expectations, Augie is still personally involved in the day-to-day work toward the next promising ALS treatment. He knows we are very close to a breakthrough. That’s what keeps him going, along with his infectious sense of humor and affinity for telling a good joke or two. 

Yes, Augie may not be able to talk. However, he’s still the most magnetic voice in the room.

To learn how Augie’s sheer will and steadfast belief in what Augie’s Quest is doing, and how that drives him beyond the limits of human strength and endurance, see Augie’s incredible story in the feature film-length documentary “Augie”

Your generous donation to Augie’s Quest will fund the most aggressive and innovative ALS research, moving drugs and possible treatments from the lab to the clinic as quickly as possible.