It’s been five years since Canberra lost Connie Johnson to breast cancer.
Connie’s was a particularly brave and public fight as she sought to raise money for breast cancer research, aided and abetted by her little brother, actor and Gold Logie winner Samuel Johnson and a veritable army of supporters (Connie’s Vollies, bless ’em all) .
To mark the fifth anniversary, to recognize that “cancer is a formidable enemy” and must be kicked in the ass with more research funding – and just because Samuel will never stop fighting to prevent other families to face the gaping hole that Connie left in his own – he returns to Canberra. And frankly, he wants your money.
But in exchange, Love Your Sister will host a day of family fun with music, food trucks, market stalls, a live petting zoo, and games and entertainment for kids of all ages. The event will take place on September 11 back at the Lyneham netball grounds and Sam will be there with the bells, thanking people in person and making sure the crowds know how much they are raising as the day progresses . It’s a gold coin donation to get in and Sam has high hopes that the city that is the beating heart of Love Your Sister will support the event.
In the meantime, Samuel is looking for local businesses to support Family Fun Day by becoming a sponsor. They will receive Sam’s heartfelt thanks, as well as the Love Your Sister Army promotion, not to mention the satisfaction of knowing that they are helping to make a difference for people with cancer and their families.
Samuel will also host another special night in Canberra on September 9, where he will take the podium at Eastlake in Gungahlin to tell his story. Combining his own words and a few filmed pieces to reflect on the people and events that inspire him, Samuel promises that this night will bring big reveals, untold stories and quite a bit of “foul language guaranteed so definitely an adult only event”. .
Samuel has been in the spotlight for much of the last year after surviving his own near-death experience, or what he otherwise describes as “the unfortunate incident of being hit in the head by a car” which happened as he stood beside a road and crashed. We almost lost him.
It’s been a long road to recovery from the brain injury, starting with Samuel reading for 30 seconds at a time and relearning how to make a cup of tea.
But Samuel says he has a new perspective on things and is looking forward to being the leader of Love Your Sister. “I love being on the coal face. I love what I do.”
Since forming Love Your Sister with Connie in 2012, the charity has raised over $15 million, including setting a world record at Connie’s last public event, her Big Heart project which took over the grounds Lyneham netball club and raised over $2.5 million with a giant heart made out of nickels.
“Love Your Sister is Australia’s biggest cancer-fighting charity,” says Samuel.
“We are proud to give 100% of each donation received to scientific research. No skimming. No kidding.”
It is also increasingly targeting demand from Australian cancer patients for ‘personalised’ or ‘precision’ cancer treatment pathways. Samuel is desperate to gain access to genomic testing and the clinical research program for the treatment that follows, to finally become a reality for cancer patients across the country. “Precision medicine can completely eliminate false lines of treatment, save many lives and countless billions of ineffective drugs. It took three months to see if the first drug given to my sister had a demonstrable effect on the size of her tumor. She hasn’t had it for three months. In total she had three wrong lines of treatment and by the time we found the right medicine it was too late. All of this could have been avoided if she had taken the test directly, to determine the best treatment for her. The right medicine, first time, every time. We didn’t offer this precision treatment ten years ago when my sister was diagnosed, and too many patients don’t have access to it today. I’ve had it up to here. This has to change now, and when I say now, I mean yesterday.
As September approaches, Samuel and his team are looking for community-minded individuals to get involved in fundraising or to support Family Fun Day by hosting a market stall. There are myriad ways to help out: host a crazy sock day or morning tea party at your workplace, go for a run, shave your head, donate a percentage of a day’s profits, or find them a great raffle prizes. Every dollar counts.
You can get in touch with Love Your Sister here.
To book tickets for An Evening with Samuel Johnson on September 9, go here.
To find details for 9/11 Family Fun Day, go here.