By Lauren Ferrone
Published: Thursday, May 14, 2020
As the world battles to reduce the spread of COVID-19, ordinary South Australians have made it their mission to spread something a little different – kindness.
Here are just a few acts of kindness we’ve heard about from RAA’s #ShareKind campaign.
1. Spreading strength and survival
When Suzanne Hall’s daughter Emily was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016, the family knew they were in for a tough journey. They didn’t, however, expect it to include a global pandemic.
“In February this year, we found out the cancer spread to Emily’s spine, just before COVID-19 restrictions came in,” Suzanne says.
Considered one of the more vulnerable residents in the community, Emily has spent most of her time at home, leaving only for radiation and a few special outings which have kept her busy.
“While undergoing treatment, Emily’s spent a lot of time making meals for her grandmothers and taking them around to the retirement village, on top of homeschooling her children,” Suzanne says.
For those who know Emily, this act of kindness isn’t unusual. Caring for others has always been in her nature, given the 34-year-old is a nurse at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.
“She’s always thinking of others, even when she’s in the fight of her life,” Suzanne says.
“It’s been tough and, while we’re taking the virus seriously, Emily is a battler and has been a fighter for many years. I call her my ninja.”
The close-knit family are now hoping for as much time as they can get and taking each day as it comes.
The coronavirus is just a stepping stone we’ll overcome together.
2. Helping the less fortunate
Torrensville resident Amanda went shopping and bought a bag of grocery items for a homeless man who lives in a park near her home.
“I don’t like to call this an act of kindness; it’s just something that you do. Now we know each other’s name and, when I take the dog for a walk with the kids, we all say hello to one another,” she says.
3. Wrapped with love
Marg from Prospect was pleasantly surprised when her kind neighbours threw a roll of toilet paper over the fence.
“It was wrapped with this lovely note,” she says.
“They also write happy messages on their driveway for all to read.”
4. Adding some colour to the world
Marina from Fullarton has her lunchtime walk brightened up by her neighbours who added a splash of colour to their front yard.
“I love seeing everyone’s creativity come out to share kindness,” she says.
5. Sharing in the gift of new life
Preparing to bring a baby into the world is overwhelming for most mothers at any time, let alone in self-isolation. That’s exactly how Stacey Murphy felt when stories about a virus started making headlines.
At 33-weeks pregnant, the Wudinna resident felt she had no choice but to leave her job at the local school and do what most soon-to-be-mothers do – put her feet up. Living on the Eyre Peninsula, Stacey drives 2 hours to medical appointments, making it even harder to get the support she needs.
While she admits the time out has been a blessing in disguise, there’s only so much nesting one can do. That’s where the first-time mother’s friends and family have come to the rescue.
“From day 1 when I was instructed to self-isolate by my doctor, I’ve had at least 1 friend or family member turn up on my doorstep,” she says.
Whether it’s just for a chat or to make a chocolate delivery, the unexpected acts of kindness is something Stacey and her husband will always remember. In fact, one act of kindness in particular completely blew them away.
“We were sitting outside on our front porch one afternoon and were greeted by tooting cars which were covered in pink and blue balloons,” she laughs.
A drive-by baby shower was organised by friends and family after the couple were forced to cancel the event due to a 10-person limit on social gatherings.
“There was about a 20-car convoy and a wheelbarrow in the front yard where people could leave gifts. It was just a total surprise and made us feel so loved.”
While Stacey admits it’s going to be tough if they can’t share their new arrival with loved ones in the hospital, they’re trying to look on the positive side.
“What we’ve been through is going to make one hell of a story at our child’s 18th birthday,” she laughs.
“It’s not often you can tell your child they were born during a global pandemic.”
6. The act of giving
Like many people, Amanda from Sturt had run out of toilet paper; however, she was lucky to be at the supermarket one day when they were stocking shelves with 36-packs.
“I bought 1 pack. I took 6 rolls out and left the rest in the car,” she says.
“Weeks later, I overheard 2 parents shopping (with 3 small boys in tow) who were worried because they had run out and were unable to purchase toilet paper anywhere. So, I apologised for eavesdropping and gave them 12 rolls.”
7. An Easter surprise
Patricia from Cumberland Park and her husband were self-isolating due to him undergoing cancer treatment and being immunosuppressed.
On Easter morning, they opened their font door to let in sunshine. To their surprise, the Easter bunny left them some thoughtful gifts.
“We saw big pink bunny feet leading to a basket that held chocolates and lemons,” she says.
“The feet had beautiful words of ‘We love you nanny and poppy. We miss you so much’. We hadn’t even heard them! It was so lovely. Families are wonderful.”
8. Paying it forward
Like most parents, Somerton Park mum Katrina Zaslavsky hopes her children grow up to be kind. You could say this mum’s mission to encourage her daughters to ‘pay it forward’ has paid off.
Katrina, along with her daughters 12-year-old Ariana and 10-year-old Talia set out on foot to personally drop off specially curated care packages for 400-plus households in their neighbourhood.
“I wanted us to do something positive with our time at home – something life changing,” Katrina says.
Dubbed ‘Kindness Packages’, the goodies include everything from handmade craft creations and inspirational messages, to toiletries and trivia games.
“The girls love a good project and it’s been just the thing to help them realise that there are others out there more vulnerable,” Katrina says.
The family’s mission was to show people they’re all in this together. And it seems people are grateful for the simple gestures of kindness.
“The response has been amazing; we’ve counted more than 60 thank you messages, including some gifts for the girls, like art supplies” she says.
While social distancing guidelines have meant disconnecting physically, Katrina believes they’ve brought everyone closer in some ways.
“People have lost their jobs and some can’t see their grandkids, so to receive artwork and loving messages reminds them they’re not alone,” she says.
For her girls, Katrina hopes the experience has taught them the gift of giving.
“Kids always love to receive presents, but the greatest gift of all is knowing you’ve helped brighten someone’s day.”