When Susan Dosot and Jeannie Elrick decided to make and sell cabbage rolls as a fundraiser, they had no idea just how popular it would be. In total, the two, along with several helpers, made and sold 2,200 rolls.
“It was 400 pounds of cabbage rolls,” says Susan.
The massive and delicious endeavour was done as a fundraiser for Jeannie’s grandson, Aaron Volpatti, who is partaking in an upcoming Ironman for ALS in Whistler, BC.
ALS, known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a progressive motor neuron disease with no known cure. For Aaron, the disease hits close to home. His father, Tony, was diagnosed with ALS in early 2016.
Aaron is working to raise $25,000 for ALS before his July Ironman, and Jeannie and Susan figured they would be able to make and sell around 100 dozen rolls for the cause.
“Then my granddaughter put it on Facebook,” laughs Jeannie. “My daughter called me and said, mum, we’ve already sold 80 dozen and it’s only been three hours.”
The duo ended up making three trips to Save-on-More and Southside. Both stores, they note, gave generous discounts.
“Revelstoke is amazing,” says Jeannie.
Between the rolls and both small and large cash donations, Susan and Jeannie ended up raising $4,000.
The Volpatti’s have previously taken part in a walk for ALS, during which they had Team Tony t-shirts made up. Aaron’s Ironman for ALS fundraiser though, is something both personal and special.
“This Ironman for ALS fundraiser is specifically our son wanting to do something to honour his dad. I am so proud of him,” says Lana Volpatti, Aaron’s mother. “It’s good for him to have a focus, as someone who was an NHL player, he knows about putting his body through challenges, and he enjoys challenging himself.”
When Aaron first announced his efforts to raise money for ALS, he had set his goals at $10,000. He raised $3,500 the first day, and was inspired to up his goal to $25,000. With this latest donation, he is half way there.
“I think we will make it,” Aaron says. “The town of Revelstoke has been amazing, and I think most of the funds have probably come from here.”
Preparing for the Ironman, which takes place in July, has been a new experience for Aaron.
“Training is going pretty good,” he says. “I pushed myself maybe a little too hard too early so my body is pretty beat up, but it’s good. The swimming has been the most difficult, and now that is finally gotten better.”
Ironman triathlons are made up of three different elements including a nearly 4 km swim, 180 km bike ride and a 42 km run, raced without break in that order. The Ironman for ALS swim will be in a glacier fed lake.
Tony, Aaron’s father, is both proud of his son and confident in Aaron’s ability to compete in the Ironman.
“Aaron has experienced so much in the first 34 years of life that I smile with amazement and wonder at what the next 34 years will bring,” says Tony. “A lot of people have told us we have taught out son well, but it is what he has taught us.”
“Aaron lives in the moment, he lives in the power of now – he doesn’t fear failure and doesn’t worry about the future,” explains Tony. “The first signs I saw of that was at a father and son golf night when he was about nine or ten. We drove down to the parking lot, and the first tee was just packed with people, including all the pros. Aaron asked me what was wrong, and I said having all these people watch me tee off makes me nervous. He looked at me and said, ‘why would you be nervous?’”
“I didn’t know how to explain it to him. And I teed off and sliced it way right. Aaron stood up and hit it straight down the middle, farther than a lot of the men could, and I just looked down and knew there was something special about him.”
If any organization or individual is interested in fundraising for Aaron’s Ironman for ALS, please contact Aaron via email, which is available on the website https://www.alsbc.ca/ironman-for-als/
As for Jeannie and Susan’s cabbage rolls, well, it isn’t the women’s first marathon in making cabbage rolls for a good cause, and if you missed out on purchasing them this last time, you’ll have a chance to get more this fall.
“We did it last year for the volunteer medical drivers, and in October we will make them for the volunteer drivers again,” says Susan.
“With no greyhound a lot of people can’t access services out of town, and not just seniors. So the Ride Program is pretty important,” says Jeannie.