Her grandfather loves lasagna, so she's baking it to help him and others with Alzheimer's

·2 min read
10-year-old Vittoria Pisano is baking one lasagna after another, all in an effort to help people with Alzheimer's, including her grandfather.  (Kwabena Oduro/CBC - image credit)
10-year-old Vittoria Pisano is baking one lasagna after another, all in an effort to help people with Alzheimer's, including her grandfather. (Kwabena Oduro/CBC - image credit)

It's not easy seeing a loved one suddenly forget your name, or struggle to recognize you.

But that hasn't stopped 10-year-old Vittoria Pisano from using one of her grandfather's favourite dishes to help him and others struggling with Alzheimer's.

For Antonio Pisano, 85, lasagna makes for a perfect Sunday dinner.

That's why Vittoria's project is called Lasagna Sundays. She makes the lasagna from scratch, sells it, and donates the proceeds to the Federation of Quebec Alzheimer Societies.

"I like helping people, you know?," said the 10-year-old, who lives in Montreal's Rivière-des-Prairies neighbourhood. "I like helping people. "It puts a smile on my face to help other people that have Alzheimer's."

The goal was to raise $500. She's reached $10,000 and counting, by selling $5,000 worth of lasagna platters, which prompted a private donor to match that total.

Vittoria Pisano's father, Vince, says many of the people buying the lasagnas know what it's like to see loved ones dealing with Alzheimer's.
Vittoria Pisano's father, Vince, says many of the people buying the lasagnas know what it's like to see loved ones dealing with Alzheimer's. (Kwabena Oduro/CBC)

Her grandfather hasn't tried her lasagna. He's hospitalized, and due to COVID-19 restrictions, she hasn't been able to see him, except for a few visits to the back of the facility, waving at him through his window.

"It's kind of sad inside, him not knowing my name sometimes. It just hurts me because I'm his granddaughter, you know?" she said. "I would love to see him again and make him try the lasagna."

'A simple lasagna has made a difference'

Vince Pisano, Vittoria's father, says many of the people buying the lasagnas know what it's like for a loved one to struggle with Alzheimer's, and the meals have brought them a sense of comfort.

"A simple lasagna has made a difference, whether it's having a meal with the person in question that has Alzheimer's or maybe in memory of someone that had Alzheimer's," Pisano said.

"It makes me feel very good, very proud of my daughter, very proud of the community as well."

He says it's been difficult watching his father's condition get worse, but watching his daughter work hard to give back has helped him deal with the situation.

"It's therapeutic, and it's a lot of fun to do as well," he said. "If it puts smiles on people's faces, then the ultimate goal was achieve."

Pisano wants to make sure his daughter knows how much her efforts are paying off.

On Saturday, he asked her: "What makes you proud about this?"

"I like raising money for my grandfather," she replied.