The Herman's Hands launch on Friday 22 July, 2016 was a great success.
First I had a few coffees in the shed with three champions from the Port Adelaide Football Club who are helping me spread the message and promote the brand.
Then around 70 people got behind me, braving some filthy ADL winter weather – and filled the shed as I had my head shaved for mental health awareness.
I’d been nurturing that Jew-fro for almost 3 years..
I raised $6,500 for the shave (minus gofundme fees). Which is crazy!
Most importantly though, together we ‘once and for all’ destroyed the stigma surrounding the space where Herman took his own life in 2007.
I don’t want to ramble on too much here; I’d like to let the photographs do the talking. But, for those of you who don’t know: I began converting the family shed where my dad took his own life into a “positive space for growth” at the start of the year. My hope in doing so was to remove the last remaining stigma surrounding his death. I made Brenny’s - A space where I taught Muay Thai and drank coffee... I will always carry a certain level of sadness and fear because I discovered my dad’s body in that shed when I was 15. But, Brenny’s is a bloody positive place and the few people who’ve come have grown. If you want to know the whole story go to www.brendanmcdonnell.com.
Having everyone behind me in the shed that night was the icing on the cake. Now I’ve literally done everything I can to remove the stigma and I hope set example for others to do the same. I wouldn’t have been able to remove the last of it without you all.
Anyway, I just want to express my gratitude here (the English language doesn’t have a word to express how I felt about having all those people standing behind me in THAT shed – it was huge for me). Thanks.
Thanks to everyone who read my articles, donated, bought Herman’s Hands merch, came to the party and supported my cause!
Thank you to Brighton Jetty Bakery for the mean custom donuts.
Thank you to Joe Wright & Boys Club Barber Shop for shaving the mop.
Thank you to Baxter for photographing everything.
Thank you most of all to Ma, Eddie and Steph for supporting me day to day - for feeding me and loving me and listening to my shit and giving me space (allowing me to take over half of the house) and buying an endless supply of bananas and giving me positive reinforcement when I need it.
My next move is to donate a sum of money from the shave to an organisation supporting mental health and suicide prevention in Australia. Stay tuned for that.
Thanks to everyone’s generous donations in time I WILL be able to create a much larger second line and connect with a much larger audience --- create much more dialogue and inspire much more change!
This IS the beginning of something much greater.
Together we ARE creating dialogue and inspiring change.
Lotsa love! Respect! Peace!
With the Herman’s Hands launch party and my shave for mental health awareness I finished a chapter of my life. I’ve already started the next. I’m on a one-way tour for mental health awareness and suicide prevention across the country.
Follow @hermanshands on Instagram and get involved!
Brendan Lewis McDonnell