Revelstoke born and former NHLer Aaron Volpatti is raising funds for ALS, a disease his father Tony Volpatti has been diagnosed with, by competing in Ironman Canada on July 28. (Submitted photo)

Aaron Volpatti competing in Ironman Canada for ALS

Volpatti’s father Tony was diagnosed with ALS in 2016

About four years ago Revelstoke born and raised Aaron Volpatti was on a father-son trip while playing professional hockey.

Volpatti was boarding a plane when he noticed his father Tony had trouble lifting a suitcase into the overhead bin.

“We shared a laugh and attributed it to old age, but as the year went on things like this were happening more often,” said Volpatti, who now resides in Coldstream.

“Ultimately he was diagnosed with ALS.”

People with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) gradually become paralyzed. The disease prevents the brain from communicating with the muscles of the body and over time, the muscles disintegrate. People lose the ability to walk, talk, eat, swallow and eventually breath. There’s no cure.

READ MORE: ‘A little more hope:’ ALS patients taking anti-psychotic drug in clinical trial

To raise funds and awareness for the disease, Volpatti will be competing in Ironman Canada on July 28. Ironman triathlons consist of 3.86 km swim, 180 km bike and 42 km run. Volpatti use to play NHL hockey for the Vancouver Canucks.

Earlier this year he reached out to the ALS Society of BC to share his triathlon idea.

“Right away, people started asking me questions,” he said. “’Can you swim?’ Not really, I sink like a rock. ‘Have you ever been on a road bike?’ Nope. ‘Do you run?’ No, I spent the first 30 years of my life on skates.”

However, he said the challenge of competing in an unfamiliar athletic contest is what attracted him to the idea in the first place.

Tony Volpatti, Jeannie Elrick, Susan Dosot, Aaron Volpatti. Jeanie Elrick and Susan Dosot, along with helpers, made 2,200 rolls and raised $4,000. The money was donated to Volpatti. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)

”While the challenge will be nothing like my dad’s battle, it will be a great way to promote awareness,” he said. The Ironman is in Whistler, B.C.

Volpatti said he hopes to raise a total of $25,000 by the event day. So far he has raised over $17,000.

“This fundraising will continue to support ALS patients and their families, provide funds for services and research, and create public awareness of ALS,” he said.

Back in April, the Review wrote an article on two Revelstoke ladies making cabbage rolls for charity. Jeanie Elrick and Susan Dosot, along with helpers, made 2,200 rolls and raised $4,000. The money was donated to Volpatti.

READ MORE: Revelstoke ladies make 2,200 cabbage rolls for charity

To make a donation, visit alsbc.ca/ironman-for-als/.

Files contributed by Karissa Gall

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