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‘Boarded up’ for a good cause

Laura Peppas

It’s a brisk June evening and I’m navigating the dark roads on the way to Amanda Whitley‘s house, cheese platter in tow.

The HerCanberra team have been told that we are being “boarded up” for the night – but as I soon find out, it’s not nearly as frightening as it sounds.

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As I enter Amanda’s heated lounge room the girls have already popped the champagne and there’s pulled pork tacos for dinner…

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…and a four-tier brown sugar sponge cake with caramelised poached pears for dessert, (thanks Belinda!).

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Of course, the night isn’t complete without flowers for the host (ordered from Moxom & Whitney).


I’m told we’ll be playing a game that’s an old favourite of mine — Guess the Celebrity — using one word or only body language (it’s a little like Charades). The night is filled with flowing wine, delicious food, lots of giggles, games (with a few of the girls revealing how scarily competitive they can be) and at the end of the night, we all leave full and happy. The best part? It’s all for a very good cause.


Boarded Up is a campaign to raise awareness of cystic fibrosis, an incurable genetic condition that primarily afflicts the heart and lungs, with patients given a life expectancy of 40 years. The campaign encourages people to “play host” and bring their family or friends together during winter for an evening in with colourful board games, aromatic comfort food and wine.

Cystic Fibrosis ACT & NSW Business Development Manager Heidi Prowse says the message behind the campaign is that living with cystic fibrosis can become socially isolating, and people can help make a difference by becoming a “host”.

“People with cystic fibrosis often have vigorous treatment regimes, hospitalisations and the risk of contracting lung infections that cause a decline in lung function, so time spent with friends, family and being active in the community are reduced,” Heidi says.

“Add winter to the mix and hibernation becomes a reality. Understanding and overcoming social isolation when living with cystic fibrosis can become very difficult and an added burden.”

Donations on Boarded Up evenings are encouraged with all funds to go towards people with cystic fibrosis in the ACT to help them live longer and healthier lives.

The HerCanberra girls get into the game.

The HerCanberra girls get into the game.

Heidi has her own personal experience with cystic fibrosis – her husband, Andy, is living with it.

“Last year Andy caught a nasty lung infection that required three months of IV treatment on top of his already twice daily nebulised antibiotics, 40 tablets and physiotherapy to clear built up mucous and help him breathe,” she says.

“A nurse would come at 7am and 7pm each day to administer the IV, he would then be connected to a travel bag that would automatically start his mid-day meds. As you can imagine this was a hard time for us. And when Andy started getting horrible side effects to the drugs, I felt completely helpless.”

Heidi says the experience made her realise how important friends and family are.

“I decided to organise a Boarded Up night and in the middle of a three month nightmare we had a great night at home with our friends and family. To see Andy laugh with friends was something I will never take for granted,” she says.

“Cystic fibrosis is a daily battle and you deal with it as best you can. We encourage people to have a great night at home with their friends and family, be the hostess with the mostess and laugh because life is worth living to the fullest and raise essential funds for people with cystic fibrosis to help them live longer and healthier lives.”

Head to the Every Day Hero website to find out more information on Boarded Up.


Laura Peppas

Laura Peppas is HerCanberra's senior journalist and communications manager and is the Editor of Unveiled, HerCanberra's wedding magazine. She is enjoying uncovering all that Canberra has to offer, meeting some intriguing locals and working with a pretty awesome bunch of women. Laura has lived in Canberra for most of her life and when she's not writing fervently she enjoys pursuing her passion for travel, reading, online shopping and chai tea. More about the Author

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