Titled as the Cystic Fibrosis champion, Heidi Prowse, Cystic FIbrosis ACT Executive Officer, is the ACT recipient and now National Finalist in the 2017 Young Australian of the Year awards. Heidi has been recognised for her exceptional fundraising through the 6500 Santa Speedo Shuffle and her dedication to improving the lives of local families living with cystic fibrosis.

"My love for Andy (husband) has inspired me to advocate and support others who are isolated and forgotten. When I met him I had heard of cystic fibrosis, but like most in our community I didn't understand what that meant" 

Cystic fibrosis is a daily battle against thick sticky mucous that builds up in the lungs and digestive system, causing repeated infections and irreversible damage. There is no cure, but advances in treatment has meant most people will now live into adulthood. 

"I learnt quickly cystic fibrosis consistently falls through the cracks, as I have watched my husband deteriorate over the last 5 years. Because it doesn't neatly fit into disability or health services. This make it incredibly challenging to access support."

And so the 6500 Santa Speedo Shuffle was born, to "turn heads" and raise awareness, but predominantly raise funds for local families. Over $360,000 has been collected in just four years. Funds raised go towards essential medical items such as nutritional supplements, medical equipment and recreational programs. For a community that usually live in isolation the Shuffle brought a community together.

"People with cystic fibrosis are, in my mind, unnecessarily taking up hospital beds and still dying young because there is no investment in the fundamental care and treatment that research clearly shows will keep them healthier longer. I am immensly proud to be "Head Santa" and what we have done in the ACT, but we are not even scraping the top of the ice burg."

Heidi hopes this award will help increase awareness of cystic fibrosis and address the level of care people can access in the territory.

To support Heidi's work please consider making a donation here. You may also like to save the date for the 2017 6500 Santa Speedo Shuffle on 30.07.16.

The ACT recipients will now join recipients from other states and territories as finalists for the national awards to be announced on Australia Day Eve as part of the Australia Day celebrations in January 2017.

National FInalist Bio
Heidi Prowse
Cystic Fibrosis champion

When the man she loved told her he had cystic fibrosis, Heidi Prowse didn’t shy away. Instead, Heidi put her positive attitude and problem-solving skills to great use, volunteering for Cystic Fibrosis ACT, and, together with husband Andrew, organised the inaugural Santa Speedo Shuffle. The event, which started with seven friends braving chilly conditions to circle Lake Burley Griffin in speedos and Santa hats, has collected $360,000 in just four years. In 2016, a record 101 people participated, with funds raised providing practical support services, such as equipment, nutritional supplements and sport and recreation grants. Today, as the organisation’s Executive Officer, Heidi divides her time between administration, fundraising and meeting with families and medical staff. A woman of enormous capacity, tenacity and integrity, Heidi supports parents of newborns diagnosed with CF and consoles those suffering. Learning first-hand the debilitating effects of CF, Heidi is determined to make a difference to people living with this chronic genetic condition.