Big Fella

A man in a black shirt smiles in front of a suburban view with the sea in the distance
Big Fella
WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that the following program may contain images and/or audio of deceased persons

Big Fella is a story about the crippling health effects of diabetes and obesity in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities throughout Australia. It's also about one man's love for life, his battle to stay alive and his fight against the demons of obesity and diabetes.

Happy-go-lucky Rodney Ardler weighs in at 185 kg. At 36, Rodney was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. He was told his heart and kidneys were in bad shape and that if his life didn't change he would only have a few years to live.

Big Fella follows Rodney's journey of survival. He undertakes a gruelling exercise and weight loss campaign and decides to have lap-band surgery (or gastric banding, when the entrance to the stomach is tightened).

Twelve months after his surgery Rodney ran the City2Surf run, weighing 114 kg. Today Rodney says he's a different man and he hopes the film inspires others in a similar position. He now weighs in at around 110 kg.

Big Fella is extraordinary because it shows the community spirit that exists at La Perouse in Sydney. The whole community rallied to give Ardler back his life.

Close friend Greg Winter and workmate Jeff 'Boppa' Cini opened their wallets to help pay for Ardler's surgery. Nathan Garlic strapped on his runners to help Ardler shed 65 kg. When Ardler reached his goal weight, world surfing champion Koby Abberton made good on a promise to send the 'Big Fella' on an all-expenses-paid trip to Bali.