Over a 15 month period between 2016 and 2017 i found myself involuntarily admitted to a psychiatric ward suffering with severe and debilitating anxiety and depression. One of my last memories of the ward was a conversation with the psych nurse suggesting the use of electroconvulsive therapy or ECT, my depression was so incredibly deep. I recall wishing to decline the proposed treatment. I thought God had abandoned me.

It was the morning of May 5th of 2017, i saw a beautiful bird perched on a tree and thought that God had to exist, that beautiful bird simply had to be God’s work. From that day on, I have not had moment of anxiety or depression since. I thank God every day for all my blessings.

May 5th is a day i choose to celebrate my mental wellness with the world. I had worn a Hawaiian Lei around the valley for over a year cycling, hiking, shopping, to restaurants, pubs and driving my Transit bus. It was simply an outward expression of joy and happiness.

I decided to celebrate with the world my new found boundless joy and happiness, announce to the world that from now on May 5th would be known as “Lei Day.” I gathered my musician friends, called my favorite floral manager, had a team of volunteers all meet at Goose Spit Park to string together real flower Lei’s on the beach to the sounds of live music. A real Kumbaya moment. People lined up to buy my Flowerman Lei’s for $20.00 with all proceeds going to a local organisation dealing with homelessness, mental health and women’s shelters. The idea was to wear a Flowerman Lei with pride and perform a random act of kindness to a stranger on May 5th.