THERE'S certainly no doubting the passion and commitment Samuel Joseph Johnson OAM has for spreading the message about improving cancer treatment.
The charismatic Australian actor, radio presenter and philanthropist is best known for his many television roles, including as Evan Wylde in the television series The Secret Life of Us (2001-2006), and Molly Meldrum in the mini-series Molly, but it is his commitment to changing health outcomes for cancer patients that drives him these days.
In Sale on Tuesday to help raise awareness and funds for his Love Your Sister Charity, founded in 2012 with his beloved sister Connie, who died of breast cancer in 2017, Johnson won hearts and admiration for his honest approach to his mission to "stop more mums from dying".
At Sale Greyhound Club, where he presented a video that told of his mission and his fundraising feats, including unicycling 15,995km in 2013, breaking the Guinness World Record and raising a staggering $1,477,630 for breast cancer research, Johnson's obvious inner strength and candidness about his sister's suffering brought people to tears.
He told his audience his sister's illness had changed the trajectory of his life, and his mission now was to remind every Australian woman about the need to be 'breast aware', in an effort to promote early detection and improve survival rates.
To that end, he is calling for "personalised treatment" to become the norm for all cancer treatments, to provide patients with immediate availability to the right medicines, and save lives.
He said doctors should be testing tissue to match patients to the best treatment, rather than wasting "precious" time with trial treatments that don't work, as in his sister's case in the first 12 months after her diagnosis.
"Our focus is heavily on personalised medicine," he said.
"We need to use the genome to individually treat each patient, and we need to stop with our hit-and-hope approach, which is costing lives and wasting millions in false lines of treatment."
Johnson said he felt a special connection to Gippsland, with more than 70 of his relatives living in the area, including some around Sale.
"If you come across a Johnson in this area, it's probably a relative of mine," he said.
"I'm sure I'll be catching up with some of them while I'm here."
Johnson's visit to Sale was part of a program of travelling the country, amassing supporters around the issue of personalised medicine for all Australian cancer patients.
His trip is sponsor-funded, so 100 per cent of donations go to breast cancer research.
While at Sale Greyhound Club, he was presented with a cheque for $1500 from general manager Peter Johnston.
While in Sale he also stopped in at the IGA supermarket and attended an evening event at Bond Street Event Centre, before heading to Bairnsdale for engagements.