Students create awareness campaign for debilitating collapsing condition

Tuesday 11 June 2019

Students collaborated with industry to help raise funds for members of the Swinburne community affected by POTS.

Students have collaborated with industry to raise funds for Swinburne community members affected by autonomic nervous system disorder, POTS.

In summary

  • Swinburne students raising awareness for Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS)
  • Most cases of POTS diagnosed in women aged 13 to 50 with one out of 100 teenagers also affected
  • Students launched awareness campaign in collaboration with industry in support of affected members of the Swinburne community

Swinburne students have created a social impact campaign to raise awareness for a largely unknown but increasingly common condition known as Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS). 

POTS is a disorder of the autonomic nervous system known as ‘dysautonomia’. Sufferers experience chronic fainting, low or high blood pressure, blurred vision and fatigue. POTS can affect men and women, but most cases are diagnosed in women aged 13 to 50. One out of 100 teenagers are also affected.   

Master of Marketing students have collaborated with industry to develop and launch the multi-faceted campaign. Students worked in groups and pitched their campaign ideas to a panel of industry experts who selected a winning concept for the class to collaborate on within an agency model. Given the lack of awareness and misconceptions about the condition, they chose to name the campaign ‘more than meets the eye’.

The campaign was developed by the students who received real-world feedback from industry along the way and focusses on increasing public awareness of the condition.

Swinburne community affected by POTS

This cause is close to the Swinburne community’s heart. Swinburne staff member Paul Forsyth’s wife Lindsey has been diagnosed with POTS. The family made national headlines in 2018 when Lindsey collapsed at home. Her 5-year-old daughter saved her life by calling 000 and performing CPR. 

Lindsey was once a strong and active special needs teacher. Her life is now consumed by appointments with specialists and long stays in hospital recovering from episodes. Since January 1 2018, Lindsey has collapsed 113 times, lost consciousness multiple times and has been rushed to hospital on 16 occasions. Paul says the impact of the illness has been devastating and dramatically changed the family’s lives.

“It has taken [my] wife away from me and my children. I have seen Lindsey deteriorate so much, and when I look in her eyes I can see that the light has gone out,” he says.  

In between Lindsey’s long hospital stays, the family campaigns to raise awareness of POTS.


The Forsyth family being interviewed after their 5-year old performed CPR on Lindsey, saving her life. 

Creating social impact through course work 

Director of Swinburne’s Masters of Marketing, Dr Nives Zubcevic-Basic says “As part of the recent restructure of the Master of Marketing at Swinburne, I wanted to embed a strong social impact focus and the Marketing Communications Agency unit felt like the perfect opportunity for this.”

Dr Zubcevic-Basic’s research is around social impact in marketing and communications and she brings a breadth of experience to teaching this unit.

“Paul and Lindsey agreed to be a part of this project to raise awareness so that they can bring something positive to what they're going through. It made perfect sense to me to teach the students the key skills in this unit by getting them to help a member of the Swinburne community. It is, after all, part of what Swinburne is all about.”

To help Lindsay and her family fight POTS, donate here.