Being handed a cancer diagnosis is debilitating to say the least and coupled with being unable to access lifesaving treatment can leave one feeling disheartened and resigned to their dire fate.
It is this experience which has propelled Gold Logie award-winning actor Samuel Johnson to come to Warrnambool to advocate for all cancer patients regardless of their financial background, status or location to have access to precision medicine treatment.
While Mr Johnson might be known for his acting roles in The Secret Life Of Us, Rush and the Seven Network's Molly, he prefers to be known as Connie's younger brother.
Connie, who was a year older than Mr Johnson, was handed a terminal breast cancer diagnosis at the age of 33 and is what ultimately changed his life trajectory from the big screen to his family.
He said having to witness his sister go through such a traumatic experience was not only saddening to see but also left him and his family frustrated at the lack of timely treatments Connie was offered.
"Connie went through nine months of false lines of treatment before she was given the right drug," he said.
"My sister could have been offered a treatment and a test when she was diagnosed that would have put her on the right drug the first time and that could have potentially saved her life."
The test and method of treatment Mr Johnson is referring to is precision medicine. This medicine uses genome and protein testing to formulate a plan to best diagnose and treat a variety of diseases including cancer.
Mr Johnson said this treatment was the "wave of the future" and was what led him to start his charitable organisation Love Your Sister in 2012 to assist those like his sister who struggled to get access to vital cancer medicine.
"Precision medicine is for all diseases and not just cancer. People shouldn't have to go through false lines of treatment anymore," he said.
Mr Johnson said his main aim of visiting Warrnambool, through his organisation, was to provide locals with the understanding and knowledge of how to best navigate cancer treatments.
"Sadly, the facts are that if you live in a regional areas you're not going to get the same outcomes when it comes to cancer," he said.
"I need to tell everybody what to talk to their oncologist about so my organisation isn't just about raising funds for cancer research but it's also about making sure that if cancer hits someone in the regions they know the best steps of how to move forward with such a diagnosis."
Mr Johnson will be in Warrnambool next month offering, together with his foundation, both a family fun day for everyone to enjoy as well as an intimate session with himself which he described will be filled with "filthy showbiz yarns and some pretty radical personal stuff, mixed in with with Love Your Sister's story".
"There's a lot of that I take the piss off and and we laugh lots so it's definitely designed to entertain," he said.
"We've also got a wicked treasure hunt in store for the kids on the Family Fun Day."
Love Your Sister Family Fun Day will be held on Sunday, July 17 and an Evening with Samuel Johnson will be held on Friday, July 15. All proceeds from both events will go directly towards funding scientific research.
For more information on these events and Love Your Sister click here.
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