Oktoberfest in Lacrosse, WI is one of the biggest Oktoberfest celebrations in the country. For Dave Allegretti, the massive event has always meant time with family and friends. But this year, Dave decided to bring Project Purple to this fun-filled festival to raise awareness, and funds, for the charity.
Because Oktoberfest USA has been such a fun event for the family, the Allegrettis decided they wanted to get behind the bar as volunteers. While researching how to get involved, Allegretti realized that he could not only volunteer but run a booth for a specific charity. He immediately thought of Project Purple.
“It’s one of those ideas that just came together,” said Allegretti, “it’s a good idea and we have a good cause, let’s do it.”
Allegretti became a member of the Project Purple community when his wife was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2015. Though she was terminal from day one, she ended up surviving five years with the disease.
“She was fighting it every inch of the way,” remembered Allegretti, “she was a rock from day one. I mean she carried everybody through. She was never once sorry for herself, or if she was she never showed it. I mean we all feel apart, but she kinda brought us through it and she brought us on her journey.”
The family took trips together, taking the time to be together during the last years of her life. Allegretti talked about how grateful everyone was for the extra time they were given in those five years.
But, as his wife’s diagnosis progressed, Allegretti needed someone to turn to. He ended up finding a new home with Project Purple that he continued to lean on for support and comfort through the most trying parts of his wife’s journey.
“I felt eternally grateful for everybody at all times,” explained Allegretti, “Project Purple was just such a constant.”
Since his wife’s passing, Allegretti has done his best to support Project Purple in any way he can. In addition to being a contractor, he owns an ice cream truck. At the end of every season, Allegretti donates his tips to Project Purple.
“It’s always going to be my charity,” said Allegretti.
But this year, Allegretti took Project Purple to Oktoberfest with the help of his family. The Allegretti clan all came out to support Project Purple at Oktoberfest USA. They worked a crew of about fifteen people, and with the proceeds raised from the booth and the tips they raised, they managed to raise a significant amount of money for Project Purple. Allegretti chalks his success up to the amazing crowd that attends the festival each year.
“It’s amazing, and people are so generous and good-spirited,” said Allegretti when recounting the event. “You don’t have any bad vibes at this event. There are stages all throughout, good food, and over ten thousand people in this space they reserve every year for the festival. The whole town basically tailgates on this one Saturday to have a big parade.”
For Allegretti, he feels that this event, and his support of Project Purple, is all about honoring his wife.
“It’s in the spirit of her,” said Allegretti, “she loved to do things like this and go to events like this. I’m not going to cry about it and mourn her. We’re not the kind of family who is going to sit around mopey and be sad. We’re gonna take a big bite out of things and just say we wish she was here.”
Allegretti believes that the best way for him to give back to the pancreatic cancer community is to do everything he can for future patients. He and his wife donated all of her information to Johns Hopkins Hospital for study, hoping that her journey can be used to help other patients fight this disease. For Allegretti, the decision came down to his belief in paying it forward.
“If there is anything new that can come out of any treatment, or suffering that people have gone through to help the next person, that’s how you’re going to beat this,” said Allegretti. “I think my wife lasted as long as she did because of those treatments… And if you can just do that, give patients a better quality of life, it’s worth it.”
Due to the success of this first year with the festival, Allegretti is looking to volunteer again and make this incredible event a tradition for him and his family.
“We’re all ready to go back next year,” said Allegretti. “We’re trying to reach out over there already and just let them know we’re in.”
If you are interested in fundraising for Project Purple like Allegretti and his family, please visit our “Host an Event” page here. For more information about how you can get involved with Project Purple, please visit our events page. Thank you to Dave and his family for your incredible work at Oktoberfest this year!