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The story behind Samuel Johnson’s late sister Connie’s cancer battle and charity efforts will bring awe-inspired tears to your eyes

''She went so richly, and with such grace.''
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There’s no closer bond than family. They’re the people we’d do anything for without question and go above and beyond to help and support.

Few have proven that sentiment more than Aussie actor, Samuel Johnson.

In fact, when you hear the 2017 TV WEEK Gold Logie winner’s name, you often immediately think of his sister, Connie.

While he’s known on screen for his stellar acting career, having appeared in beloved series The Secret Life Of Us, Rush and Molly, it’s his charity Love Your Sister that has become Samuel’s most outstanding work.

Retiring from acting in 2016, he’s recently appeared on Dancing With The Stars, which he won in 2019, and All New Monty, and dedicates his time to endlessly campaigning and raising money for cancer research.

Sam was best known for his role on Secret Life Of Us.


Three tragic diagnosis

When Sam was just 11 years old, his older sister Connie was diagnosed with bone cancer in her leg.

Appearing on Anh Do’s Brush With Fame last year, Sam recalled the shocking moment they learnt the news.

“I looked over at my dad, he was just white … he was curled up on the couch, weeping, bawling,” he revealed.

While Connie overcame the bone cancer diagnosis, tragedy struck again 11 years later when at 22 years old she was diagnosed once again, this time with uterine cancer.

Her battle only continued when another decade passed and Connie was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 33.

Sam recalled the shock moment while chatting to Anh.


An “insane” dare

“It all started with an insane dare”, the Love Your Sister charity page reads.

And insane it seemed, indeed.

Having started the Love Your Sister charity in 2012 with the aim of raising $10 million for cancer research, it was the following year that Sam embarked on a daring charity event.

Departing Melbourne with a goal of raising $1 million, Sam endeavoured to ride 15,000km around Australia within a year … on a unicycle.

After 364 days, Sam had done it. Not only had he completed the journey, he had raised $1.5 million and broken a world record.

Sam and Connie started Love Your Sister together.

(Love Your Sister)

A big, huge, heart

In May 2017, the siblings made history, yet again, when The Big Heart Project, an initiative of Love Your Sister, raised $2.2 million for cancer research at the Garvan Institute.

How? With their hearts.

The pair had asked Aussies to donate their 5c coins with an aim to build the longest line of coins, but as the project gained momentum, they changed their approach and decided to build an enormous heart on the Lyneham netball courts in Canberra.

The incredible heart donated by the “Love Your Sister village” was able to be seen from space and the sheer love and support was overwhelming.

The charity effort could be seen from space!

(Love Your Sister)

Connie’s legacy

Just months after their inspiring heart fundraiser, on September 8th, Connie lost her battle with cancer.

Her tragic passing came just one day after being awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia.

“We lost Connie today. Or, as she asked me to say, she died of cancer today. It was so beautiful. We laughed, we cried, we sang stupid songs from our childhood to her, which she loved (mostly!),” Sam wrote on Facebook.

“I read her so many village messages, which she relished. She went so richly, and with such grace. Trust me, she was genuinely cushioned by your love, till the end.”

With Connie’s passing came only more push for Sam to reach their $10million goal.

Appearing on Dancing With The Stars in 2019, he revealed they were painstakingly close to their goal, sitting at $9.1 million.

During the semi-final of the show, he called on viewers in a heartfelt post to forgo voting for him to win, and instead donate directly to charity.

“Being that SMS votes cost 55c and NONE of the proceeds go to charity, I’m asking that you forget voting for me and consider donating 55c to cancer research instead?” he wrote.

“I’ve even created a special 55c button! Unforch it’s not deductible, because it’s less than two bucks. I cannot work harder for your donation and appreciate your consideration regardless.”

Finally, in August of 2019 Sam was elated to announce Love Your Sister had reached its goal.

“First I promised my sister then I promised all of us,” he wrote in the caption.

“It took 7 years. We came good. Thank you. $10m for cancer research banked.

“I’m the proudest brother in the world right now. Thanks for showing me how to be. You gave me somewhere to belong. F— I love this village. Today I stand tall.”

For more information on the inspiring work Love Your Sister does, visit the site here.

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