For a parent dealing with a terminal illness, one the hardest things is knowing that you won’t be able to watch your children grow up. Chris Rosati could relate to that, as he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in 2012. However, as the disease progressed, he gave his two daughters a gift they wouldn’t forget.
A resident of Durham, North Carolina, Chris and his wife Anna were the proud parents of two young daughters named Logan and Delaney. Working as a marketing vice-president, the dad’s life seemed to be going very well, but that all changed in 2012.
Sadly, Chris was diagnosed with ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. This condition affects the nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain, leading to a loss of muscle control. Sadly, there is no cure for ALS, and it is a fatal disease.
However, despite that devastating diagnosis, Chris refused to get down about it. Instead, he decided to spread happiness to all those around him, particularly Logan and Delaney. “I can’t teach them every lesson,” the dad told CBS News in June 2014. “I don’t have enough time. But I can be a good person and they can see that.”
On that note, Chris also touched upon the primary concerns that most fathers have throughout their lives, including the ambition to improve their careers. Due to his condition, though, he told the news outlet that he believes those priorities need to change, as they don’t matter in the long run.
“We’re missing the greatest experience we’ll ever have, ever,” Chris told CBS News. “You always think that people who are dying want to get up early and watch the sunrise. I don’t. I like to sleep – but if my kids get up early, I want that experience,” he added.
Following the diagnosis, Chris looked to put his plan into action, as he aimed to spread a little cheer in his community. However, few could’ve predicted his first move. Indeed, the Durham native sent an application to donut company Krispy Kreme, hoping to become one of their delivery drivers.
“I knew I wouldn’t get the job,” Chris told CBS News in January 2014. “But at least then I could say when they arrested me, ‘Hey, man, I applied.’ Then the next step is to try to steal a truck. And then just go around and give away the donuts.”
Although somewhat bizarre, this was a plan that Chris had fantasized about, as he looked to take one of Krispy Kreme’s trucks while out on a delivery run. From there, the dad outlined the next stage of the donut heist. “I was going to go to the nearest school,” he explained.
Unsurprisingly, Chris’ plan didn’t come to fruition, as he admitted himself that it wouldn’t have worked. However, the details of the planned donut heist reached Krispy Kreme via a Facebook post. This prompted the company to get in touch with him. Not even he could’ve predicted what happened next, though.
Indeed, while some companies might not have seen the funny side to Chris’ plotting, Krispy Kreme offered to help him. After some discussion, the dad-of-two received a bus full of donuts, allowing him to put his plan in motion. Alongside his family and friends, he then traveled around the local community for a day.
While out on the road, Chris visited a variety of places, including children’s hospitals and local parks. Following their arrival, the group would then hand out free donuts to everyone. “We’re glad to make some people smile,” the dad told CBS News.
However, Chris’ kindness didn’t end that day, as he continued to push forward with his plan of spreading joy beyond Durham. At that point, he came up with an idea named Butterfly Grants. This saw the dad hand over $50 to individual school children, before asking them to “change the world” with the money.
The idea proved to be a massive success, with several schools across America taking it on. Dr. Judith Palmer became one of those to lobby for the program at her particular school, located in Winsted, Connecticut. “It is impossible to describe in words how much this program has affected those involved,” she wrote on her district’s website.
“I believe that most students are thirsty for ways to make a difference in the world,” Dr. Palmer continued. “They do see the needs. I have found our students to be socially aware and determined to become change-makers.” Although the Butterfly Grant spread its wings across the country, Chris continued to spread the message in his hometown.
While visiting one of Durham’s local diners, Chris spotted two young girls named Cate and Anna Cameron, prompting him to hand them $50 each. The dad then reiterated what he told all the school children. But not even he could’ve predicted what happened next, as the sisters put his words into action.
Indeed, Cate and Anna’s dad worked in Sierra Leone as a volunteer for the Peace Corps, so they decided to mail over their Butterfly Grants to a village in the country. The money helped pay for a celebratory feast, with the people then thanking Chris in a number of photographs.
As for Chris’ own daughters, he looked to treat them as much as possible as his disease progressed. Logan in particular received a quite incredible gift, with the aspiring cook meeting a renowned chef in the summer of 2014. However, she insisted that she wasn’t a stranger to her dad’s kindness before the ALS diagnosis.
“That dad who has ALS was the dad I was born with,” Logan told CBS News in June 2014. “[Chris] tried to make friends with the world. I think it’s hard to do that. So I’m proud of him.” Sadly, though, his brave battle came to an end in October 2017, and he passed away at the age of 46.
A memorial service was held for Chris in November 2017, celebrating his life and accomplishments. However, even though he had passed, the dad managed to pull off one more plan at the service. Each guest was handed a $1 bill and asked to pay it forward. One last Butterfly Grant.