WHY IS ANTIGONY HOSTING A BIG AUSSIE BARBIE?
Why I chose to host a Big Aussie Barbie each year
My dad migrated to Australia with his family when he was very young, so even though he was Greek by descent he grew up in Australia and was as Aussie as they come. He loved BBQs for many reasons but mostly because it got all of his family and friends together for good food, beers in the backyard and plenty of laughs. Growing up, our house had an open door policy, everyone was welcome, and even though we were only a family of four, my parents cooked for an army so there was always plenty of good food to go around. My dad was always the life of the party. That's why I refer to him as larger than life.
My dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2004, and he battled hard for 5 years. It was like torture for my family watching him go through this terrible time. We felt helpless in so many ways watching him in pain and knowing there was little we could do to ease that pain. While prostate cancer is a male disease, the impact is far reaching. Everyone is affected by a diagnosis of prostate cancer. My dad died in June 2009, and although we miss him every single day, we know that he is no longer in pain and that he is finally at peace.
Our first Big Aussie Barbie
We held our first PTG (Phil the Greek aka my dad) Big Aussie Barbie in our backyard in September 2009 a few months after dad died, with the sole purpose to honour our dad and raise money for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA). The first barbie was very small with just 20 of our close family and friends and we only raised a very small amount of money. The response to this first barbie was overwhelming, so we thought it could be a great tradition to keep my dad’s memory alive by holding this event every year. These days we get over 80 people at our PTG BBQ!
With the help of my amazing family and close friends, we put on a big Greek style spit roast and supply all the food and trimmings. All we ask is that everyone come with an empty belly and a full wallet. I set up an online page each year and start promoting my page and our barbie a few weeks out. We have a donation box for people that wish to donate cash on the day. We play games/ competitions and have prizes to be won. We also promote the event at work and encourage people that aren't coming along to donate directly to the online page. This tradition has now grown into a huge event which most people put on their calendars as soon as they hear about it. I've been told it's one of their favourite events each year! It's bittersweet in some ways as my dad would have just loved to be at these BBQs with us.
Our barbie success
Last year our PTG BBQ was a huge success raising over $2,500 for PCFA and as a result, I was entered into the Big Aussie Barbie competition where I won the major prize, a Ziegler & Brown BBQ set worth $1000. This was quite overwhelming as I don't host the BBQ to win prizes or to receive thanks. I host it to raise awareness and much needed funds for your great Foundation. But mostly I host it to keep the memory of my dad alive.
What 2016 holds
This year will be the 8th PTG Big Aussie Barbie and we are aiming to raise over $3,000 and hope that it will be the best BBQ yet. We are massive supporters of PCFA and we live in hope that the small efforts we make will help PCFA make a difference so that other families do not have to go through the pain and heartache that we did when we lost our dad.