Former NHL’er, Aaron Volpatti finishes Ironman for ALS

Published in Revelstoke Review August 8, 2019, written by Liam Harrap

Aaron Volpatti had a wager.

If he got less than 11:30 hours in the Whistler Ironman last month, his friend would have to double his donation. If Volpatti went over, he would have to take his friend for dinner.

Volpatti finished in 11:25 hours.

“It was a humbling experience,” said Volpatti, who is a former NHL player for the Vancouver Canucks. He is originally from Revelstoke, but now lives in Vernon.

Volpatti took part in the Ironman to raise funds for 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.

Volpatti’s father, Tony was diagnosed with ALS in 2016.

Prior to training, Volpatti said he had never swam, biked, or ran. At least, in the context of an Ironman. Ironman triathlons consist of 3.86 km swim, 180 km bike and 42 km run.

Volpatti aimed to raise $25,000. He raised over $27,000.

Jon Blais, also known as Blaseman, was an American triathlete noted for his fight against ALS. According to news articles, in 2005 he was permitted to enter the 2005 Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii. He had recently been diagnosed with ALS.

He is quoted at the time saying, “finishing the race is huge for me. No one is beating ALS. No one has done anything but walk away and die.”

With more than half and hour before the cutoff, Blais log-rolled across the finish line. Since then, its become tradition for athletes to roll across the finish line to show support against ALS.

When Volpatti finished, he rolled and hugged his dad.

Volpatti would like to thank everyone in Revelstoke for their support.