One with Cheese Whiz, onions and…. EMOTIONS.
Gloria Walker, 56, has always dreamed of seeing the Egyptian pyramids with her family. When Walker was diagnosed with terminal bladder cancer, her son wanted to ensure that her dream came true. It seemed unlikely, between the limitations of her illness and the cost of travel—an estimated 10 grand.
Son Dustin Vitale, 26, decided that he would do everything within his power to make his loving mother’s dream come true. Vitale knew that his history teacher’s salary wasn’t enough to cover the trip expenses, so he came up with a tasty solution.
The Philly native was motivated to raise the money by making and selling his favorite sandwich—his mom’s cheesesteak recipe. It’s become an effort that involved the whole family pitching in, and they have been at it since February.
It starts everyday by waking at 4 a.m. to bake homemade rolls. Vitale and his wife Hailey share griddle duty, while his stepfather takes charge of the prep work. Vitale’s sister, brother and friends have all pitched in too, working endlessly to meet the goal. The effort has been chronicled on Instagram.
“We didn’t know how long the hype was going to last, so we decided to just keep telling everyone and see how many we get. We ended up doing 94 in one day and we were like just blown away.”DUSTIN VITALE
The sandwiches soon caught the attention of Michelin-star and Philadelphia-based chef Michael Solomonov. The Zahav restaurateur gave Vitale and his crew a glowing endorsement on Instagram.
After Solomonov’s post, business boomed. Without a commercial kitchen, it became difficult for the family to keep up with the demand for cheesesteaks.
When a local food truck owner then offered their vehicle for the fundraiser, everything changed. In just six-weeks time, the family had raised over $18,000, more than enough to cover the family trip to Giza, which is planned for later this year.
“If she would have asked to go to the moon, I would have made that happen, as well.”DUSTIN VITALE