Samuel Johnson talks life, loss and fundraising

Award winning actor, author and advocate Samuel Johnson comes to Ipswich this Friday for the next installment of Ipswich Libraries’ hugely successful Cocktail Hour series.

Johnson is revered not just for his on-screen roles in the likes of The Secret Life of Us and Molly but also his unwavering support for sister Connie, who died last year after a battle with breast cancer.

In 2013, Johnson rode a unicycle across Australia to raise awareness of breast cancer and $1.75 million to fight it. Together with sister Connie, he started charity Love Your Sister and has committed to raising $10 million for cancer research.

To date, more than $8 million has been raised.

Ipswich First checked in with Johnson ahead of his visit to Ipswich.

Q: In 2013 you stopped by Ipswich on your unicycle journey across Australia. The local community presented you with a big chocolate boobie cake which at the time you said was a “fabulous set”. Have you ever come across a better cake since?

A: That’s like ‘does my bum look big in this?’. It’s a leading question! Rather than reject this question out of hand and dismiss it summarily, I’m just going to say ‘Of course it was the best cake I’ve ever seen and I daresay I’ll never see a greater cake in my life again!’

Q: What was something unexpected you learned on your unicycle trip across Australia?

A: I learnt just how big it is! At 11.4 kilometres per hour for 364 days, I had plenty of time to contend with the sheer magnitude that this country encompasses. Nevermind the majesty. And the people. I learn that Aussies really are good people.

Q: You’ve set a fundraising target of $10m, what are your plans in the next 12 months in the way of fundraising initiatives?

A: Keep hustling. Just like every other mob, we’re constantly rolling out campaigns that we hope might stick. I’ll be breaking another world-record before too long.

Q: You’ve previously talked about the importance of women being able to get support following a cancer diagnosis, what advice would you give women struggling with a cancer diagnosis?

A: I’m not a woman and I’ve not known cancer inside my body yet. I can only echo my sister’s words ‘don’t fall into the booby-trap’. My sister pushed her concerns aside and paid the ultimate price. She wishes that on no other.

Q: What’s your advice for dealing with loss?

A: Treat loss as gain. We don’t get to choose the length of our tenure with our loved ones. Don’t feel robbed if you can help it. Be grateful. be sad, but never feel sorry for yourself. It’s not up to us. That’s the price of life. Consider yourself lucky to see a loved one through. It’ll be your turn soon enough, don’t waste the little you get sooking. And honour them by carrying through their best bits.

Q: You have said you don’t plan to return to acting until you reach your fundraising target. Are there any specific types of roles you would like to play on returning?

A: It’d take a heck of a lot to take me away from my role of a lifetime – Head of Cancer Vanquishment at Love Your Sister.

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