COVINGTON -- Calvin Klein had been a body builder since the age of 17.
He was still winning competitions at the age of 55, but at 60, he met a challenger like none he'd faced before -- ALS.
"Although it's limited me to certain things that I can do, I still have a purpose," he said. "I'm not going to let this disease stop me from doing the things I enjoyed doing before I got it."
Klein has now lived with the disease for six years. His story is much like Augie Neito's; a man considered the Steve Jobs of the fitness industry for his gym equipment, among other things.
Nieto was diagnosed with ALS 13 years ago, and similar to Steve Gleason, he has made it his mission to fight back against the disease. His effort is to not only find a cure, but create one.
"We don't believe that there's going to be this silver bullet that's going to cure all ALS, but we'll keep at it until we're successful," she said.
In partnership with the ALS Therapy Development Institute, Augie's Quest has developed a drug called A.T. 1501 which has proven to stunt the progression of the disease. It's ready to go to Phase One trials, which are safety tests, this year, before starting trials with human ALS patients.
Funding is the final hurdle, but the effort has found a friend in the fitness industry.
"They're going to change the face of this disease when nobody else really took any interest," Nieto said.
Health clubs across the country have raised millions of dollars for Augie's Quest since its inception, including Stonecreek Health Club and Spa in Covington.
"And we're going to keep going because funding will be needed to keep bringing this out," said Stonecreek General Manager Larry Conner. "But we're excited that it could be turning a corner, at least a small corner, and there may be more to come, but at least we're making some headway."
At the same time, patients like Klein are making their own personal headway every day.
A documentary about Augie's ALS experience, similar to Steve Gleason's movie, will be out at the end of the month.
If you'd like to learn more about Augie's Quest, or donate to their efforts, visit: www.augiesquest.org.