Lou Gehrig’s Disease ~ United We Dance

Each year, Zumba Fitness encourages instructors to help raise awareness and money for various causes.  In the past,  awareness and money have been raised for heart disease (Party Hearty) and breast cancer (Party in Pink).  Portions of the monies raised from the charity events and clothing lines head to charities for research to find cures.  Often, I will find someone in the community, or close to the community, who is fighting for their health when a specific campaign is announced.

Zumba’s website reads, “Make a move to cure ALS! Join the entire fitness industry in its quest to help Augie Nieto find a cure for ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease or motor neuron disease) through the United We Dance to Cure ALS™ campaign.

What is ALS (or Lou Gehrig’s Disease)?

I went to http://www.alsa.org (official website for ALS Association) to find out.

“Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.

A-myo-trophic comes from the Greek language. “A” means no or negative. “Myo” refers to muscle, and “Trophic” means nourishment–”No muscle nourishment.” When a muscle has no nourishment, it “atrophies” or wastes away. “Lateral” identifies the areas in a person’s spinal cord where portions of the nerve cells that signal and control the muscles are located. As this area degenerates it leads to scarring or hardening (“sclerosis”) in the region.

As motor neurons degenerate, they can no longer send impulses to the muscle fibers that normally result in muscle movement. Early symptoms of ALS often include increasing muscle weakness, especially involving the arms and legs, speech, swallowing or breathing. When muscles no longer receive the messages from the motor neurons that they require to function, the muscles begin to atrophy (become smaller). Limbs begin to look “thinner” as muscle tissue atrophies.”

Who is Augie?

I went to augiesquest.org to find out.

“Augustine (Augie) Nieto, a prominent leader in the nation’s fitness industry for nearly three decades, received a diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease) in March 2005. Augie, 53, is approaching his role as co-chair of MDA’s ALS Division with the same ironclad will and determination that catapulted him to entrepreneurial heights in the fitness world.”

3/18/09San Francisco, CAMDABASH for Augie’s Quest Photo Credit: © Steve Cohn © 2009 Steve Cohn Photography(310) 277-2054www.stevecohnphotography.com

Currently available in class.

Shake it up and rock it out in the United We Dance Rubber Bracelets, created to support a great cause!

30% of the purchase price directly benefits MDA’s Augie’s Quest, a nonprofit research initiative dedicated to finding treatments and cures for ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease).

United We Dance!


One thought on “Lou Gehrig’s Disease ~ United We Dance

  1. Augie is SUCH an inspiration!!! What a great cause!! How can we get a bracelet? I would LOVE to have at least one! My grandpa’s brother has ALS, so it is a cause VERY near and dear to my heart! 🙂

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