Gretel takes centre stage as national award finalist

April 28, 2023

A Canberra creative who shone a spotlight on her experience as a survivor of stroke has been named a finalist in Stroke Foundation’s national Stroke Awards.

Gretel Burgess has been shortlisted in the ‘Creative’ award category for writing and starring in a theatre show that highlights the impact of stroke on survivors and their families.

“I’m so extremely excited and feeling very honoured to be a finalist with all the other finalists and to be acknowledged for what we have all achieved. We are all winners no matter what as we have survived a stroke and that’s a massive achievement in itself.” Gretel said.

Gretel had a stroke in 2014 at the age of 42. She was holidaying in the Daintree Forest when it struck. While she has physically recovered, Gretel says the impact on her mental health remains, however, creating the theatre production has helped in her recovery.

“Through this creative process and telling our story I got back what the stroke had taken away from me such as confidence, self-esteem, my mental health well-being and ruptured family dynamics. I got back all of that and so much more.”

The Stroke Awards celebrate the unsung heroes in our community who go above and beyond to improve the lives of Australians affected by stroke. This includes the survivors of stroke, carers, volunteers, fundraisers, health professionals, researchers, and members of the community.

The Creative Award category recognises survivors of stroke contributions to creative industries.

Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Dr Lisa Murphy, congratulated Gretel for her achievements.

“ Gretel has found a unique and interesting way to shine a light on stroke and help people understand what it can do to a person and their family,” Dr Murphy said.

“Gretel’s amazing efforts go a long way to support the more than 475,000 survivors of stroke living in our community. I’m certain they will inspire other Australians to look at what they can do to prevent, treat, and live their best possible life after stroke.”

There are seven categories in total: Stroke Warrior, Improving Life after Stroke, Creative, Courage, Fundraiser of the Year, Volunteer of the Year and President’s Achievement.    

The finalists are:

• Douglas Hemming – QLD
• Emma Green – QLD
• Gretel Burgess – ACT

The winners will be announced at a ceremony in Melbourne on May 4, 2023.

The 2023 Stroke Awards are supported by Major Sponsor, Bristol Myers Squibb - Pfizer, and Award Sponsors AbbVie, Allevi8, Australian Physiotherapy AssociationIpsen, NAB Community, and Precision Fundraising, agency of Precision Group