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Quarantined family going the distance for the Salvos

Quarantined family going the distance for the Salvos

Quarantined family going the distance for the Salvos

22 September 2020

Nicola and Jeffrey Ross with their five children – Deja, 10, Lavinia, 3, Denzel, 12, Heath, 7, and Esetta, 5 – thinking of others less fortunate despite facing their own COVID-19 challenges.

By Darryl Whitecross

A Sunshine Coast family has returned to Australia from Canada unexpectedly due to COVID-19 and decided to spend their 14-day mandatory quarantine by walking, jogging, jumping or running 300km in their hotel room to raise money for The Salvation Army.

Nicola and Jeffrey Ross and their five children were in Canada on a 12-month teaching exchange program when COVID-19 began sweeping the world.

After a marathon 48-hour journey back to Australia, the family had to go into mandatory quarantine in a Sydney hotel. With five young children and unable to leave their room, Nicola and Jeffrey knew they would need to find something to keep the family active and motivated.

Nicola said they came up with the idea of trying to walk or run as far as they could each day, within the confines of their room. They chose a distance of 300km and, by tallying up how far each member of the family walked or ran each day, they hope to hit the target by the time the 14 days are up.

Another dimension was added as an incentive – raising money for those less fortunate. The family decided on supporting The Salvation Army’s “vital services” and a Facebook page has been set up through which the public can pledge donations. 

A note researched and written by 12-year-old Denzel and posted on Facebook to encourage donations.

“The homeless aspect of the Salvos’ work really came to my mind when we were thinking of this fundraiser and where to direct our efforts,” Nicola said. “We’ve been seeing many Australians facing homelessness abroad due to not being able to get home.

“I have been a long-term attendee of the mainly music program – firstly at Ipswich Salvation Army from 2009-12, then Maroochydore Salvos from 2013-19.

“Our connection, through this, has given me an insight into the great work the Salvos do. I think we all need hope at the moment and I’m sure that there will be many arms of the Salvos’ work being stretched with such need in communities around the world.”

Nicola said she got her children to do some research on The Salvation Army and post their notes on the donation Facebook page: “It’s a great opportunity for them all to learn more about those in need and understand why we’re doing this and how lucky we are.”  

A handwritten note from 10-year-old Deja. Nicola asked her children to research and write notes on what they were doing in quarantine to help them understand.

Kay Hartz, who coordinates mainly music at Maroochydore, said Nicola brought all five of her children through the program: “We got to know them very well,” she said. “They are a lovely family and we’re cheering them on as they run their 300km and pray that they’ll be okay as they go through their quarantine.”   

The family’s strategy to reach the 300km has been to measure and mark out a 10m stretch of space in the hotel room and do a minimum of 10 lengths before adding the tally to the chart.

“We’re all doing this. We’re trying to keep this as a team effort and not emphasising any competitiveness within the family,” Nicola said.

A treadmill arrived on day two of their adventure, which will be used and distances added to the total. Nicola said on day one the family got off to “a cracking start” and almost reached 10km. By day five, they had reached the 100km milestone.

To donate, go to

You can watch the family on Channel 7's Sunrise Program Wednesday 23 at approximately 8:50am.





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