FUNDRAISER: Beachside dance party organiser   Nicole Kawalko-North and Samuel Johnson.
FUNDRAISER: Beachside dance party organiser Nicole Kawalko-North and Samuel Johnson. Monique Preston

HOPE: 'I'm doing it to ease the suffering of our families'

THERE were hugs, there were tears, there was the chance to get your hands on a television award, but most of all there was the resounding feeling of hope, as Gold Logie winner Samuel Johnson visited the Whitsundays.

Mr Johnson and his team had a whirlwind tour of public engagements over three days in the Whitsundays, managing to fit in Airlie Beach, Proserpine and Bowen into their Australia-wide road trip to raise cancer awareness.

The journey is part of a promise Mr Johnson made to his later sister Connie Johnson, before she died of cancer, that he would raise $10 million to fight the disease.

Mr Johnson's Love Your Sister organisation is now into the final $1 million dollars of fundraising to reach that target.

During the past seven years, since starting his campaign against the disease, Mr Johnson has ridden a unicycle around Australia and got people to donate coins to form a giant heart.

His most recent opportunity to raise awareness of cancer came on the dancefloor, after he recently won Dancing with the Stars.

That mirror ball trophy from that show - as well as his Gold Logie for his part playing Molly Meldrum in the television mini-series Molly - are on Mr Johnson's current trip around Australia with him, with locals given the opportunity to touch them.

 

Samuel Johnson and Hydeaway Bay's Robyn Coombs put Samuel's mirror ball trophy for winning Dancing with the Stars to good use during Samuel's visit to the Whitsundays.
Samuel Johnson and Hydeaway Bay's Robyn Coombs put Samuel's mirror ball trophy for winning Dancing with the Stars to good use during Samuel's visit to the Whitsundays. Monique Preston

While some relished the chance to touch the trophies even for a little while, it was Mr Johnson himself whom everyone had come out to see.

The Whitsundays part of his trip included a visit to the Big Mango in Bowen, before a meet and greet over fish and chips at Bird's Fish Bar on Friday.

On Saturday, Mr Johnson took to the golf course in Proserpine for a Love Your Sister golf day that raised $3000 for the charity.

Saturday night saw him at the Airlie Foreshore Fiesta for a couple of hours.

Breakfast at the Airlie Beach Hotel started Sunday morning activities, with $10 from each breakfast going to Love Your Sister.

The final stop on the whirlwind Whitsundays part of his tour was a beach dance party and family fun day at Northerlies Bar and Grill on Sunday afternoon.

Mr Johnson enjoyed his time in the Whitsundays.

"You've got to love a golf fundy (fundraiser)," Mr Johnson said.

And who doesn't like breakfast, or seafood or family fun days?

"Family fun days are crackers.

"We pride ourselves on having fun. It's one of my favourite parts of the job."

By the time Mr Johnson reached the Whitsundays he was already more than 40 days into his epic trip.

"It's impossible to describe," he said of the journey and the emotions that come with it.

"It's very painful because I'm dealing with a lot of people's cancer stories. But it's offset with a lot of love and joy."

He is also proud of what he has been able to achieve.

"Day to day I'm dealing with thousands of families dealing with cancer. I feel it's my duty to... deal with that pain," he said.

"I'm doing it to ease the suffering of our families.

"When I see a primary existential threat to our families such as cancer, the true terrorist, I won't stand idly by."

To find out more about Mr Johnson's journey around Australia, check out Love Your Sister on Facebook and Instagram.

To donate, visit www.loveyoursister.org.


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