For the love of sisters

Freeman standing by a donated car. Photo Ruby Fleischer.
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A Melbourne theatre director has given up her day job after being inspired by actor Samuel Johnson to fundraise for cancer research. Ruby Fleischer reports.

A Melbourne theatre director has given up her day job after she was inspired by actor, Samuel Johnson, and is now the backbone of his charity, fundraising for cancer research.

Lucy Freeman, 52, is a mother of two who quit her role in theatre to become the Chairwoman of Love Your Sister in 2016 after years of volunteering.

Freeman met Samuel Johnson in 2012. She was working on a production when he approached her for assistance, and their friendship began.

The founders and faces of Love Your Sister are Samuel and Connie Johnson, who died in 2013, however Freeman plays a crucial part in what is now a campaign that has raised millions.

Inspired by finding a cure for cancer especially after Connie died of breast cancer, Freeman officially committed herself, taking Love Your Sister from a small charity to a legitimate organisation.

In search for a new purpose, Freeman became the chairwoman. “I’ve been in theatre all my life and I loved it, but I was considering getting out and trying something new.”

Freeman’s role included legitimising the charity, taking care of documents, legalities, finances and organising fundraising events such “chuggers” collecting 5c coins which raised $115,000.

“Samuel is a genius, his ideas are big so I have to be the one to tame them and execute those ideas. Sometimes this can be quite hard though.”

Lucy Freeman. Photo Ruby Fleischer.

Love Your Sister proposes that 100 per cent of donations will be given to cancer researchers such as the Garvan Institute of Medical Research. “With such commitment comes a struggle,” said Mrs Freeman.

“All our money goes to cancer research, so we have to figure out how to get money for clipboards, an office, our wages. That’s where I come in.”

Swapping a stable career and wage for Love Your Sister, Freeman went out and sought ways to gain operation donations, which is the money for wages, events and equipment.

Thankfully, people are happy to donate for things outside of the cancer research, such as the car Freeman drives, and the Caravan that Samuel took around Australia for fundraising.

Challenges are constantly faced, working late nights and doing volunteer work on top of their paid work. “It’s very rewarding, because we get to find a cure for cancer!” says Freeman.

The organisation has raised a total of almost 10 million dollars. “Save more, spend less, raise more!” is the motto Freeman and the Love Your Sister team live by.