Nostalgic Expos fan helping Montrealers in need
Perry Giannias Uses His Love for Montreal’s Extinct Baseball Club to Give Back
“[The foundation] was started with a tragedy,” said Perry Giannias. His niece was diagnosed with a Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Giloma (DIPG) tumour, which has a zero percent survival rate and typically affects kids from the ages of five to nine. “Even though there is no cure, we are hoping that with this money there is something that can be done to prolong life, nine months to a year upon diagnosis is unacceptable.”
Giannias, a Montreal Expos super-fan, was named in the top-25 most influential people for baseball in Quebec by the Journal de Montreal. He decided to host Expos Fest to raise money for DIPG research in support of his sister-in-law who lost her daughter.
Fast forward a little over four years and The Kat D DIPG foundation has raised over $750,000. The goal is set at $1 million. Giannias reiterated that the family would then re-evaluate if they should keep going once they’ve hit their goal since it is so time-consuming and they all have jobs.
“Expos Fest is the greatest,” said Giannias. There is a signing session with former Expos players, and a dinner with an open bar. The ticket costs $150 and $100 of it goes to the children’s hospital. “We want to put on a great event because it honours someone close to us,” said the Expos super-fan. The event sells out every year and around one thousand people attend.
This foundation has always been run by family. Among the notable players that have attended the event are Baseball Hall of Famers Vladimir Guerrero, Andre Dawson, Larry Walker, as well as Expos legends Jose Vidro, Larry Parrish, Cliff Floyd, and more. On top of Expos Fest, Giannias holds weekly raffles via Facebook Live, charity softball tournaments province-wide with former pro players, among other activities.
Giannias has a very large collection of Montreal Expos memorabilia including game-worn jerseys, signed bats, and baseballs. “Collecting for so long, I know what people like,” said Giannias. “I really started collecting religiously in 2003 when I knew the Expos were leaving town.”
The Kat D DIPG foundation’s philanthropy does not stop at cancer research. They’ve donated meals to over 150 people at homeless shelters over a two month period. This past year, they donated $5,500 to Chez Doris, a foundation that protects homeless women.
Not only is the foundation’s commitment unwavering, but the former pro-players are fully on-board as well. Hall of Fame inductees realize the importance of DIPG research and have volunteered hours at Expos Fest and even send personalized messages to raffle winners.
The events held by the foundation are always big successes, and people look forward to them. COVID-19 derailed some plans for 2021, but Giannias projects 2022 to be the year in which the million-dollar goal is reached.