At BKB, we seek to provide a supportive space for our community. One of the ways we are doing this in the new year is to support a local organization working to save lives. We’ve partnered with Augie’s Quest and ALS Therapy Development Institute, an organization located in Cambridge working towards finding a cure for the devastating disease known as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. We’re hosting a fitness showcase and lifestyle event called The Warm Up on Saturday, January 20 to help raise awareness and funding for Augie’s Quest.
Augie Nieto, founder of Life Fitness and Augie’s Quest, was diagnosed with ALS in 2005. The life expectancy for someone with an ALS diagnosis is only 2-5 years. Augie has been living with ALS for over 10 years and has dedicated each one of those years to fighting for a cure. He’s the definition of superhuman.
We invited some of the research scientists from ALS Institute to come climb with us and share their stories about why they’ve chosen this work and what inspires them each day to keep fighting for a cure. Turns out these folks are also very active. Crossfit, cycling, and running are what keep them fueled for the fight. We were impressed with their fast learning approach to climbing as well.
Pictured Left to Right: Valerie Tassinari, Kyle Denton, Monica Wang, Fernando Vieira
The team of researchers have a variety of backgrounds but most are united under the same cause, to find a cure for ALS. What drives them to this cause? Meeting the patients. All the researchers expressed in one way or another how working with ALS patients inspires them every single day. These patients and their families are incredibly active for the cause, even though most of the patients may not live to see a cure for themselves.
Fernando Vieira has been with the ALS Institute for over 17 years as their Senior Director of Preclinical Research. He told us his job at ALS Institute was supposed to be brief, until his coworker turned roommate, whose mother had died of ALS, also was diagnosed and died only 9 months after diagnosis. After seeing his friend’s suffering, from that point on Fernando dedicated his life’s work to ALS Institute until a cure is found.
The end goal is finding the cure, but in the meantime this team is hoping to find specific biomarkers so that patients can be diagnosed and treated earlier. This means better, longer lives for the 30,000 people in the US living with ALS. We are thrilled to unite our communities for this event celebrating healthy, strong lifestyles and raising funding and awareness for ALS research.
The Warm Up will have something for all ages and fitness levels. You can pick and choose your own experience based of your interests. Come and meet our team, check out some of our fitness and climbing classes, and some inspiring folks at The Warm Up on January 20th.