Crawfish Boil Fundraiser in Chicago raised $50,000 for ALS.
It’s not unusual to hear rave reviews from tourists who visit South Louisiana. Each year countless visitors fall in love with New Orleans and the surrounding areas — the history, the culture, the people, and of course the food. What is unusual is the story of a Chicago-area business owner who was so inspired at a Covington fundraiser that he decided to bring some of Louisiana back home with him to begin an entirely new tradition.
In 2018, Stone Creek Club & Spa in Covington, LA, assembled a team to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll 1/2 Marathon in New Orleans. Our goal was to raise funds for Augie’s Quest, a non-profit organization dedicated to finding a cure for ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis). Though most of the team members were local, a handful of supporters traveled from out of state to support the cause and participate in the race.
Instead of the standard pre-race pasta dinner, the Stone Creek team treated racers and the Augie’s Quest team to a traditional crawfish boil so they could enjoy a uniquely local experience. Lynne Nieto, who founded Augie’s Quest along with her husband Augie after his 2005 ALS diagnosis, attended the event and delivered an inspired, heart-felt speech that made a lasting impact on everyone there.
Jeff Vandixhorn, owner of Chicago-area software company Club Automation, was particularly inspired by Augie and Lynne’s story and the unique atmosphere of the night. So inspired, in fact, that he decided to bring this kind of fundraiser back to Chicago with him. He recruited Stone Creek’s general manager, Larry Conner, and our management team to help him host a traditional Louisiana crawfish boil in the Chicago suburbs, and he pledged that his fundraiser would raise $50,000 for Augie’s Quest!
The Stone Creek team loaded up a truck with 240 pounds of live crawfish, gallons of gumbo and king cakes, and drove 15 hours to help Vandixhorn deliver on his promise. On May 17th, fitness industry leaders, sponsors and Augie’s Quest supporters from across the country joined together in Chicago to enjoy a taste of South Louisiana and raise funds and awareness for this important charity. Once again, Lynne Nieto’s presence and story brought the focus to the true goal of this fun event — raising the funds needed to make a treatment — and ultimately a cure — for ALS into a reality.
Stone Creek’s Larry Conner applauds Vandixhorn’s passion for the cause. “After meeting Augie and Lynne, I was compelled to try to help spread their story and the mission of Augie’s Quest,” said Conner. “Jeff felt the same way at our event, and now, thanks to his commitment, we can make even more of an impact to help fund the cure for ALS. Hopefully that passion continues to spread to others who will be inspired to help in their own way until there is a cure.”