Ash returned home to Melbourne from the United Kingdom when his father suffered a massive stroke. Like all returning travellers at the time, due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Ash moved into hotel quarantine for two weeks. Sadly his father passed away before Ash could see him. Ash decided to run a marathon in his hotel room to honour his father and connected online with comedian Adam Hills who was also in quarantine to join his effort. Together the pair raised more than $18,000 for Stroke Foundation.
What prompted you to get involved in fundraising for the Stroke Foundation?
Ash: A mate back in the UK told me Adam Hills was also in hotel quarantine and was running 5km in his room. So I thought, great. Slightly mad running back and forward but if he is doing it, I’ll give it a try too. During the run I was thinking right, do this every day for something to do. Then the mind started wandering and next thing you know, I made contact with Adam to see if he wanted to run together and we raise monies for the Stroke Foundation in memory of my Dad.
Adam: Whilst quarantining in Melbourne I was contacted by Ash, who was quarantining in a separate hotel. He had come back to see his Dad who was in Hospital after having a stroke, and said he wanted to run a Marathon in his room for The Stroke Foundation. I then said I'd help out by doing 5k a day.
What do you get personally out of fundraising for the Stroke Foundation?
Ash: The whole exercise of raising the funds was very much a healing process and a great way to deal with the grief and frustration I was experiencing in not being able to be with my family. The messages from friends I haven’t seen for years, from people I didn’t even know but had gone through shared experiences of losing loved ones to a stroke and also seeing the increased monies raised knowing it was going to be used in a useful manner and help others - it all provided comfort, support and encouragement to raise the profile of what we were doing. I think Adam and I fed off this positivity and to be honest, the running of the marathon was easy and even enjoyable. Listening to great tunes, sharing the experience through social media, seeing more people interacting and donating with the tally increasing by the hour, just kept feeding the adrenaline to keep going.
Adam: At first the fundraising gave me something positive and constructive to do in quarantine, but as the donations came in it gave me huge satisfaction to see the money being raised. It also made me happy to see how much Ash was getting out of it in such a tough situation.