Speaking at The Travellers Choice Conference in Melbourne, Love your Sister co-founder Samuel Johnson shared his awesome journey for the greater good.
If you haven’t heard of Samuel Johnson yet, he’s a young Australian actor who’s appeared in The Secret Life of Us, Crackerjack, Underbelly II and Network Ten’s Rush.
He’s been the voice and creator of numerous TV and Radio ads you’ll have heard over the years and will soon appear again on our screens as ‘Molly’ Meldrum in the dramatisation of his life story.
But that doesn’t matter at all. Certainly not to Sam.
What matters is that Sam’s sister Connie who has already fought cancer three times is dying and she doesn’t have much time left. So back in 2012 she set Sam the toughest challenge she could think of. It started as a joke in the kitchen. It turned into a promise.
The goal? To set a new Guinness World Record for the most distance travelled on a unicycle, raise $1 million and spread Connie’s message of breast cancer awareness. Easy right.
Love Your Sister was born.
Watch the video here, and a warning – grab the tissues
Sam’s presentation was of the like I doubt you’ll ever see again at a conference.
Riding in on his pink unicycle waving to cheers and tears from everyone in the room who’d just watched the video above, Sam got up on stage to deliver a fast paced and often wild, heartfelt rollercoaster story of raw purpose and passion.
What impressed me about Sam’s fundraising was that rather than just arrive in a town in Australia on his unicycle journey asking for donations, Sam instead turned up asking each community to come up with a challenge for him and his unicycle that was relevant to the area. And the crazier the better.
From eating a Huntsman spider up in the Northern Territory to covering himself in Vegemite in Beaufort, Victoria. The deal was – if he completed a challenge like the below. The community would donate.
It also meant he could create great videos like this one above along the way that TV stations around the world would pick up to highlight his cause. Which they duly did and kept the momentum going throughout the whole year.
Here’s 6 things he taught us about rallying the cause
- Know your tone – what’s your pitch? Be cheeky and different
- Always tell a story – Stories resonate, This is a great story and its great right?
- Use colour and movement in your photos – Get some energy happening
- Always cut to the chase – Hopefully you’re still reading this – keep it short
- Take the piss – What’s stopping you?
- Don’t take yourself seriously – Better still, take the piss out of yourself
- Don’t be the same – How can you be different?
- Authenticity over professionalism – Be real, be yourself
- Don’t template stuff – Be original where you can and personalise
- Don’t get on bandwagons – Unless you’re really passionate about something
- Communicate when excited – It’s infectious. Share the passion
- Disguise or be blatant with your plugs – Never in the middle
- Say Yes – What’s the alternative?
Sam kept his promise to Connie and after travelling 15,955 kilometres over 364 days and raising nearly $1.5 million, on Thursday the 13th February 2014 he finished what was then the world’s longest unicycle journey.
Not content to rest on their laurels Connie and Sam have set a new goal to raise $10 million dollars.
Travellers Choice certainly tipped in more than just a bit towards it with a combined company and delegate donation of $10,000 which was handed to Sam at the end of his presentation. Hats off to you guys too.
Perhaps the most impressive thing of all for me was that after Sam had finished his presentation he then spent the next hour and a half having photos taken with a huge queue of delegates outside. You’d think he’d have had enough photos taken over the years, not to mention the wear and tear on his crown jewels from all that the unicycling.
— Bek Ortega (@bekortega) November 22, 2015
Not Sam. This guy should be an inspiration to us all. Will you help? Get involved and find out more here
What do you think of Sam’s incredible journey? Share your thoughts below
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