Samuel Johnson turbo-charged by grief to honour Connie

Seven weeks after her death, Connie Johnson's family's efforts to raise vital funds and awareness for cancer through her charity Love Your Sister show no signs of abating.

Among the tributes being made to the 40-year-old mother-of-two, who passed away on September 8, is Connie's Heart by Sydney-based artist and photographer Marie Ramos.

The year-long project, which has already raised $100,000 for the charity, is so dear to the Johnsons, it will be unveiled by Connie's brother, Gold Logie-winning actor, Samuel Johnson, 39, at the Garvan Institute, Darlinghurst, on Monday evening.

Samuel Johnson with his late sister Connie. Photo: Instagram/@loveyoursister

Samuel Johnson with his late sister Connie. Photo: Instagram/@loveyoursister

"Me and Connie were side-by-side with Marie throughout the whole project. She desperately wanted it finished before Connie passed, but Connie knew how it well it was going," Samuel told Fairfax Media.

"I'll be there on my sister's behalf as her very proud brother to say thank you to Marie for giving up her entire life for a year to assemble the hearts from all around the country."

The masterpiece is made up of 2000 small ceramic tiles, each with a personalised imprint of different people's fingerprints, shaped like a heart. As well as Johnson's immediate and broader family, some well known faces have taken part, including model Megan Gale and former Home and Away star, Kate Ritchie.

"Connie is in the middle, symbolically surrounded by us all, you can see how much she is loved, the whole thing is deeply personal," he added.

Amid his grief, Johnson is focused on his goal of rasing $10 million for Love Your Sister.

"We are $1.5 million shy right now," he said.

"To be honest, [the grief] is just turbo-charging me up and providing me with that extra drive. I am really motivated and inspired to work harder, I have to do the work for the two of us now."

Samuel, the Gold Logie 2017 winner, retired from acting last year and has no plans to return right now with his focus firmly set on his charity work, although he didn't rule it out in the future.

"I can't think of anything else at the moment. I am loving my new obsession," he said.

Connie, the mother of Willoughby, 10, and Hamilton, 9, was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer in 2009, after having a tumour in her leg as a child and ovarian cancer in her 20s.

On Friday, breast cancer survivor Roxy Jacenko held a high tea for 40 guests to raise funds for Love Your Sister at Westfield Parramatta, with more than $10,000 raised.

"The Connie story is one that really touched me, it's so sad that she was not able to beat cancer but fought with such grace and courage," Jacenko said.

"To think that she has left two children and a husband behind would have been so hard - I cannot begin to even imagine."

This story Samuel Johnson turbo-charged by grief to honour Connie first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.