My whole life I had always been careful with my health and always aware of my happiness with everything I did. My independence and maturity were by far my stand out qualities growing up; after living out of home from the age of 15 and learning to stand on my own 2 feet. These qualities were projected in both my personal and work life throughout my teens and early 20s.
As most, my life was full of challenges and growth with sport, school, friends and family, however none of these challenges could have prepared me for the health challenge I was faced with around 4 years ago.
At the age of 22 I was told I needed priority surgery to remove cancerous cells from my cervics. As a sporty, independent and outgoing person this in many ways felt like the end - with an intense period of medication, dietary changes and recovery I begun to notice a whole other level of growth within myself.
No more than 8 months after surgery I was back in hospital and diagnosed with Kidney disease (adverse reaction to medication). Another 8 months went by and I was faced with more bad news that my cervical cancer cells had come back and I was into surgery number 2.
I had now lost all sense of independence, hunger for growth and resilience to challenges - my mental health had slipped and I went into a period of depression and anxiety.
After testing my mental health to the edge that I no longer had a fight for life or need to continue, the only thing I could consider was to help others. From my experiences with depression and my health challenges I felt an overwhelming amount of loneliness and misunderstanding. Not because I didn’t have any friends or family around me but because in most cases they couldn’t relate or know how to support me best.
It was then that I thought of B.OKideas and the concept of providing a B.OK Box for people to offer long term support and a means to start a conversation when you are not sure how.
My passion to help others was lit by the challenges in my past but it has been fueled by my understanding and experience that tough times do not last and that this hope needs to be shared with everyone.
Building a movement on and offline through B.OKideas has allowed me to accept my past and share my story so that others who are also going through a tough time, experiencing periods of depression or anxiety or stress can know they are not alone.
After launching B.OKideas in March 2018 I have supported many different men health initiatives such as Lifeline, Mens Health Week, Yoga Australia Ball Event and raising over $600 for our charity partner (10% of sales go to Waves of Wellness Foundation).
The Story of B.OKideas: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSlz7Yc8IjE&t=4s