For many locals, the name Aaron Volpatti is synonymous with survivor or fighter. Those who know the man and his strength likely won’t be surprised he’s lending his name and his story to the Hometown Heroes Lottery.
The lottery raises money to help support VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation, and BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund.
Volpatti knows first hand that any money raised, is well spent.
He was known as a “scrapper” when he played for the Vernon Vipers as a teenager back in 2005, but his biggest fight was yet to come.
He and his teammates celebrated their end of season by camping at Bluenose Mountain in the Lavington/Lumby area. It was during that camping trip that Volpatti's life would be changed forever.
He admits he was goofing around the campfire when he accidentally caught himself on fire.
Volpatti was airlifted to Vancouver General with second- and third-degree burns to 40 per cent of his body.
He was told by doctors he was in for a long recovery and it could be years before he’d be able to return to the ice.
As Volpatti was wrapped up like a mummy in the Vancouver burn unit, he learned he had a shot to play for Brown University – but training camp was just months away.
Through the support of VGH, the Burn Fund and his own personal strength, willpower and visualization techniques, Aaron was able to make that camp at Brown University and went on to play 114 games in the NHL as a Vancouver Canuck.
“The funds from the Hometown Heroes Lottery help to ensure that medical teams at VGH, UBC Hospital and many other health care centres under our umbrella have the cutting-edge tools and equipment they need to save lives?” said Angela Chapman CEO of the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation.
“In addition, each ticket purchase contributes to advancing medical research, giving patients in B.C. access to new therapies and clinical trials,” Chapman says.
The Hometown Heroes Lottery also helps fund services and programs for burn survivors, says Jeff Sauvé, executive director of the Burn Fund.
“The Burn Fund depends on funds raised by the Hometown Heroes Lottery to support burn survivors across the province, both physically and emotionally, and we can only do this because of the extreme generosity of British Columbians.”
The 2023 Hometown Heroes Lottery offers 10 grand prize options, and the grand prize winner can choose from two homes in South Surrey, two homes in Vancouver, one home in North Vancouver, two homes on Vancouver Island and two homes in the Okanagan. All grand prize packages are worth over $2.3 million. The grand prize winner also has the option of choosing $2.2 million in tax free cash.