Augie‘s Quest

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The best speaker I saw and heard at the show was a man who might not have much longer to live.

Augie Nieto, an industry legend, spoke during the show on Friday and at his party later that night at the Marriott called the Black & Blue Bash for Augie's Quest. Augie, who is in his late 40s, has ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease. Since he was diagnosed two years ago (when a doctor told him, "You should get your affairs in order"), Augie and his wife, Lynne, have raised millions of dollars to find a cure.

When he sent out an e-mail after his diagnosis, one of his friends made a profound statement in his reply. He said it may be Lou Gehrig's disease, but it will be known as Augie Nieto's cure.

Augie is in a wheelchair and can't move his arms or hands, but he spoke pretty well for a man in his condition. All the while, Lynne was there to wipe his mouth or to stop his leg from shaking.

Besides being motivational both with his words and presence, Augie was pretty funny, too. He had a Top 10 list entitled, "Top Ten Reasons Why it is Good to Have ALS." Many of the items had to do with the "pluses" of interacting with women, from adhering to the no-hands policy at a strip club to asking a woman to help you with your zipper. What a sense of humor.

You could understand how a man in Augie's position would want to live life to the fullest, but even Augie said how important it is to pace yourself. His message: Life is not about the number of breaths you take, it's about the number of breaths taken away.

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