It all started with the most absurd dare you could imagine. Connie Johnson, young mum of two, was told that she was terminal with bc and to arrange her affairs. Instead, she sent her brother, actor Samuel Johnson (best known as the guy who played ‘Molly’), to ride around the entire country on a unicycle to personally remind every young mum in the land to check their boobs. Love Your Sister was born.

Samuel kept his promise. After 364 days, over 1000 media calls, 450 community fundraisers and 40 school visits, Samuel finally returned to Federation Square and Connie’s waiting arms. And the scientists at the Garvan Research Foundation found themselves $1.4M richer.
While Samuel’s insane unicycling adventure is done, Love Your Sister is not. Not while there’s still no cure. Not after Samuel promised the 380,000-strong LYS Village that he would up the fundraising goal to TEN million dollars. Currently, their total stands just over $4M. There is now a new Breast Cancer Lab at Garvan, headed by the Connie Johnson Fellow, Professor Elgene Lim. This costs about 20K per month to operate. Any further monies are directed into general cancer research, including rare cancers. Cancer is cancer and whilst Love Your Sister started as a breast cancer advocacy group, we are now a village that fights all cancers.

After his unicycling odyssey, Samuel ‘ditched the pink’. As Samuel told the village..."We no longer use pink.The ubiquitous use of pink, from our water bottles to our Tim Tams, is pacifying us into believing that enough is being done to fix the problem. It misleads us. Besides, pink is a soft colour. Nothing about breast cancer is soft. The only colour for me that truly represents the cancer that fells our mums is black. The breast cancer conversation is thankfully dominated by survivors, but what of the 3000 per year that still die? What of my sister? Who is representing them? From now on we use black, silver and white. Black for those who perish. White for the hope we refuse to abandon. Silver for the lining we must have." 

Love Your Sister’s official position is now simply thus: Cancer doesn’t deserve a colour.

Since jumping on the cancer train, Samuel has learnt a little and his views have shifted. He’s realised that science and research just aren’t treated seriously enough. He’s appalled that federal funding for research has been static for ten years. He’s saddened that as a nation we spend less on science than most of our overseas counterparts. Yet still, Australia delivers the best clinical results for breast cancer in the entire world. As the best with less, Samuel wonders what we could do with more? 

After his turn as Molly Meldrum for Network Seven, Samuel promptly retired to focus entirely on Love Your Sister’s goal of raising ten million dollars for cancer research. In Samuel’s words, ‘Cancer is the last true riddle of our time (not of our doing) and I wanna be a part of the push to solve it once and for all. I won’t play pretend on telly while science is being muzzled’.

Samuel is building an army, what he calls his ‘coalition of the thrilling’. While 75% of the country is fearful of some bearded blokes in a province they can’t pronounce, let alone point to on a map, Samuel maintains that cancer is the real terrorist, the true suicide bomber. Samuel feels strongly that the many thousands of family members falling every year in front of our very eyes presents a far more direct threat. So he’s building a coalition of the country’s most interesting notables to join him in his efforts to make science more relevant. 

Tim Minchin, Carrie Bickmore, Charlie Pickering, Kathy Lette, Andrew Denton, Helen Garner, Tom Gleeson, Deb Mailman, Dr Karl, Meshel Laurie, Shaun Tan, Michael Leunig, Shaun Micallef, Lawrence Mooney, Catherine Deveny, Sam Pang, Kathy Lette, Osamah Sami and Chrissie Swan have already enlisted and a cavalcade of other glorious notables are joining the push. 

For more on this festival of ratbaggery, visit www.thestick.org.au

Samuel dropped his lolly on the LYS Facebook page recently, got sternly rebuked by his sister for being a potty-mouth and BOOM, the Swear Jar Campaign was born. $200,000 dollars later, it turns out there’s thousands out there that agree with Samuel - Australia is the best placed country in the world to swear cancer to smithereens! Over 3,000 Love Your Sister Swear Jars now litter the landscape, from shearing sheds and nurse stations through to school staff rooms and defence bases. It all has Samuel ‘dreaming of the ultimate fuck-you to cancer. A million dollar fuck-you - for meddling with our families.’

Connie’s health is in decline and she’s slowly succumbing to the perils of cancer. She is beyond treatment now. But before she goes, she is determined to break a world record of her own, to match her brother’s. It’s called The Big Heart Project and it will be Connie’s final act for LYS, after which she will retire to be with her nearest and dearest.

The world record for longest line of coins stands at 75.4kms and is held by a town in Austria. To break the record, Connie needs to collect 3.951 million five cent coins. Thousands of families around the country have already purchased metres ($2.90) and Connie will lay the coins in the shape of a MASSIVE love heart, visible from space, on May 10th at the netball courts in Lyneham, ACT.

Schools nationally are participating in ‘Five Cent Fridays’ and Bendigo Bank are providing a collection depot at each of their branches. The Royal Australian Mint are supplying the coins and Questacon have tasked their best creative minds with the mechanics of it all.
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