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12 Days of Fitness

Clubs for the Cure During the Holiday Season

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It is not often that we devote a cover story to an organization two years in a row. This month, however, in preparation for the coming Holiday Season, we believe the story that is about to be shared is worth the press, and more importantly, your time. It is one that is powered by generosity and led by the unbreakable human spirit. I am talking about the generous thousands within our industry, and the one and only, Augie Nieto, who has inspired so many, and will inevitably change the fate of anyone with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease), their families and countless others.

The primary machine for raising funds to battle this devastating disease is Augie's Quest. Like every machine, though, it is comprised of numerous parts acting in unison to produce results. One very successful part in particular, and the subject of this story, is the organization called Clubs for the Cure, led by Pat Laus, owner of The Atlantic Club in New Jersey. In our April, 2008 Cover Story (available online at www.clubinsideronline.com), written by John McCarthy, we learned about Clubs for the Cure, its humble beginnings, amazing rise to fundraising prominence and plans for the future.

Now, the future is here, the results are in, and there is quite a new story to tell. In short, I believe you will come away from this story with a renewed sense that the human spirit is alive and well, and despite rough times for just about everyone, the gift of giving is stronger than ever, and not just during the Holiday Season. Here to tell that story better than I ever could is Pat Laus. Additionally, you will hear from Kevin McHugh and Doug Miller, as they also play very important roles in the battle against ALS. That battle is one, we as an industry, led by Augie Nieto and everyone he has inspired, will win, and that would be the biggest gift of all for countless people around the world.

An Interview With Pat Laus

Club Insider (C.I.) - Pat, please inform our readers about how the Clubs for the Cure program was originally created and then carried over to the health and fitness club industry for the purpose of supporting Augie's Quest.
Pat Laus (PL) - While enrolled in a leadership course in March, 2006, I was challenged to create a program that would make a difference in the world. At the time, several women that I knew had been diagnosed with breast cancer and were undergoing treatment. Soon after that, I learned about the 2-day, 39-mile Avon Walk for Breast Cancer that was to take place in New York in October, 2006. Believing in the power of relationships, as well as possibility, I set out to inspire members of The Atlantic Club staff to enroll other staff members, club members and their friends to train for six months together, raise donations and walk together as a team. The initiative would be called, 'Clubs for the Cure,' and the ten volunteer staff leaders would be called the Clubs for the Cure Team. The Team would be led by me and Kevin McHugh, COO of The Atlantic Club. We would harness the power of our staff, members and the communities we serve to raise $1,000,000 for breast cancer treatment and research.

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