Samuel Johnson visits BGSBy Simone Lewis, Head of Community Services
Samuel Johnson OAM has enjoyed a successful career as an actor, radio presenter, voiceover artist and philanthropist. He won the Gold Logie for Most Popular Personality on Television of 2017. Samuel and his sister Connie founded Love Your Sister to support cancer research and eradication. Connie survived cancer twice since her first diagnosis at the age of 11 but died last year. Her legacy lives on through Samuel and his team of ‘Fundie Evangalists.’
On 14 February 2014, Samuel concluded a massive undertaking: travelling 15,955km by unicycle over a year. He broke the Guinness World Record for the longest unicycle journey and raised $1,477,630. Donations went to the Garvan Institute of Medical Research to support efforts to find a cure for breast cancer. In 2016, Samuel was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to cancer research support organisations and to the performing arts.
Meg Adem, Head of Hancock House, spoke passionately about why Hancock chose to support Love Your Sister. She spoke of the impact cancer has had on past student Nick Mennie and his family. She shared with us Rose’s love of the BGS community and the tough decision Nick made to abandon his Year 12 studies and spend important time with his mother as she suffered from this devastating disease. Hancock was the final House to undertake to House-based Service Challenge this year. Under the wonderful leadership of Ms Adem and the Hancock Student Leadership team, they raised an impressive $2345 in memory of Rose.
Samuel then asked our boys to be brave and to chat with their mothers over the dinner table – and to ask them to ‘check their boobs’ because regular breast checks and screenings aid in prevention and early detection, a key to fighting cancer. He explained that, as parents, we are more inclined to look after our own health when our children tell us that it is important to them!
I can only imagine how much it takes to present to people on something so personal. Samuel was 100% present. He listened to every word spoken and took in each hymn chosen for the morning. He has made the brave decision to put his acting career to the side to focus on Love Your Sister. There is so much we can learn from someone so passionate. He knows that he can make a difference and he is doing everything he can to do so.
We live with those people that we have lost to cancer in our hearts every day. We hope that the work that Hancock has done to raise these funds and that the work of the Love Your Sister team will one day no longer be necessary as a cure will be found.