The History of the Santa Shuffle by Head Santa
The idea for the 6500 Santa Speedo Shuffle was born from a Sydney road trip on the desire of Heidi Prowse and her husband Andy to help raise awareness and funds for Cystic Fibrosis locally.
Cystic Fibrosis nationally and in particular the ACT had such a small profile that they realised they needed to come up with a fundraiser so unique, outrageous and fun that it would literally turn heads.
What could we do? How can we turn heads? Canberra, Santa’s, Speedos, July… Why not!? They liked the idea of a Canberra Christmas in July theme (in the hope that it might someday snow in our cold cold winters). The 6500 theme comes from a tale in CF folklore about a child who could not quite pronounce Cystic Fibrosis, instead calling it “65 roses”. Heidi and Andy wanted to play on the 65 number and create a physical challenge for its Santa’s in the dead of a Canberra winter.
Heidi and Andy felt it was crucial to have buy-in from participants who would be dedicate to fundraising for this exceptional cause. Every year our Santa’s as individuals or teams are required to fundraise a minimum amount to secure their participation.
In the first year, on the last Sunday in July 2012, 9 brave and some would say crazy Santa’s shuffled in their speedos and Santa hats for 6500 meters across Canberra from Glebe Park to the Kingston Hotel. Between them they raised $12,500 for Cystic Fibrosis ACT.
As Paul Kelly sang, from little things, big things grow. This dynamic fundraiser has grown to encompass teams, run for 65 minutes instead of 6500 meters, move to bigger venues and changed routes to accommodate its huge growth. In the space of 4 years the 6500 Santa Speedo Shuffle has had over 200 Santa’s participate, collectively raising over $360,000.
For all their hard work Heidi was recognised as the 2017 ACT Young Australian of the Year.