Our mission is simple â€“ helping millions of people get healthier â€“ and sometimes itâ€™s not through fitness.
These past few months there have been a slew of videos uploaded to social media. Videoâ€™s in which a person voluntarily pours a bucket of ice water over themselves in the name of ALS Awareness.
For those of you who donâ€™t know, ALS stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the lethal neurodegenerative disorder also known as Lou Gehrigâ€™s disease.
About 30,000 Americans have this devastating disease, which attacks nerve cells and ultimately leads to total paralysis, losing the ability to eat, speak, walk, and eventually breathe â€“ all while the mind remains sharp.
Life expectancy is typically two to five years from the time of diagnosis and currently, there is only one drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat ALS, which only modestly extends survival by two to three months. Consequently, ALS is 100 percent fatal.
In our small world of fitness, we have been greatly affected by ALS. Augie Nieto, a vivacious and energetic innovator in the industry who co-founded Lifecycles, Inc., now called Life Fitness, Inc., was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in 2005. But always the pioneer, Augie and his family have been leading the way in finding a cure for ALS.
They founded Augieâ€™s Quest, the largest individual fundraising program for ALS. All funds raised by Augieâ€™s Quest benefit ALS Therapy Development Institute â€“ the worldâ€™s leader in ALS research whose focus is to discover and develop effective treatments to end ALS.
But without public awareness, there is only a limited pipeline for fundraising. Â According to The ALS Association, only about half of the general public is knowledgeable about ALS. That means 50 percent of the American public doesnâ€™t know what the disease is or that it even exists.
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has made profound difference, welcoming more than 70,000 new donors who have raised over $110 million since July 29. At last count, more than 1.2 million people have posted videos on Facebook and mentioned the phenomenon more than 2.2 million times on Twitter.
Here at Total Gym, we were happy to join in, taking the challenge to the next level and contributing to the cause. Now we nominate all of you to Get On Board as well â€“ take the challenge yourself and/or donate to any one of these foundations fighting for a cure: