Using business contacts to strengthen relationships and raise funds to beat prostate cancer is a new passion for Peter Antonius CPA.
Peter Antonius is not new to volunteering. “I’ve volunteered through my church and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Australia. But those experiences were nothing like working with the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA),” he says.
PCFA is Australia’s peak body for fighting prostate cancer and aims to reduce the impact of the disease on men, their partners, families and the wider community. It focuses on fundraising for research, awareness campaigns and support.
“Prostate cancer is still an unknown in the broader community,” Antonius says.
“We don’t understand the different forms of cancer and how they affect patients, their families, friends and the community.
“Through my business contacts, I heard that PCFA had an opening on their board. I met with the chairman a few times to talk about what I could offer and then they asked me to be part of the foundation.”
Antonius is the chief operating officer at Moore Stephens Australia, and his role on the Victorian/Tasmanian PCFA board puts his business and accounting skills, as well as his contacts, to good use.
He works on the strategic direction of the foundation in Victoria and Tasmania, but his skills – including accounting, finance, general management and marketing – are particularly useful for fundraising.
“Fundraising needs people with good business acumen and contacts. I can also build strong partnerships and mutually beneficial relationships with businesses,” he explains.
He started volunteering last year, and is eager to build relationships with businesses to benefit PCFA.
“Those relationships are a work in progress. We’re also talking to another not-for-profit about a partnership that will benefit both organisations,” he says.
“That I can give back to the community using my skills and experiences in a meaningful way is of great personal satisfaction to me.”
Prostate cancer accounts for 30 per cent of cancers diagnosed in men in Australia every year, and it has the highest mortality rate after lung cancer.
“[But] the companies I’ve approached only have a broad understanding of it. People don’t understand how many men suffer from it, or the effect on them,” Antonius adds.
He admits learning about cancer and finding his place on the board was a challenge.
“I wasn’t aware of the different perspectives on the board. It’s made up of a diverse array of people from health, research and the business community. Diversity supports PCFA goals in the best way possible.”
Raising awareness is the most important thing, he concludes. “Our research, fundraising and awareness goals are the best ways to do that.
Not-so-secret men’s business
Roger Climpson, a well-known news reader for the Seven Network in Sydney, and the members of his Rotary Club, can be credited with forming the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA) in 1996.
Climpson set up the organisation – originally known as the Prostate Cancer Research Foundation – to raise funds for research after he survived the disease. Now, PCFA runs support groups in the community and helps fund specialist prostate cancer nurses.
It’s estimated that 267,000 Australian men will have the disease by 2017, an increase of 147,000 from now. But on the positive side is the 92 per cent five-year survival rate after diagnosis.
PCFA uses its national support network to educate communities and teach people how to recognise and deal with the disease, and support them through the diagnosis and treatment.
PCFA-affiliated support groups also allow members to keep up to date on new treatments and other issues.
Fundraising events this year include the Big Aussie Barbie, the Biggest Ever Blokes Lunch, and Movember.
For more information visit www.prostate.org.au
This article is from the June 2014 issue of INTHEBLACK.