Elizabeth van Dongen

Campaigner for cystic fibrosis support

2023 TAS Young Australian of the Year Nominee

Physiotherapist Elizabeth van Dongen was born with cystic fibrosis (CF) – a genetic disease primarily affecting the lungs and digestive system.

She successfully campaigned to have a drug that treats the underlying conditions of CF put on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

At a time when the medication cost about $22,000 a month, Elizabeth shared her story on the CF Tasmania Facebook Page, spoke to media outlets and MPs, and helped publicise a petition to list the drug on the PBS. The petition gained 58,274 signatures and was presented to Federal Parliament.

On 1 April 2022, the treatment was made available for about $42 a script. The national campaign means the 3,500 Australians living with CF can enjoy a better quality of life.

Elizabeth is passionate about helping others live a life unencumbered by disease or injury. She promotes the benefits of exercise for people with CF to maximise lung function and sustainably manage their wellbeing.