Today, I met a man I’ve admired for many years. I first fell in love with his exuberant grin in The Secret Life of Us thirteen years ago (Thirteen? Really? Yes. Old, olditty old). He played Evan, a struggling writer, and the shambolic, chaotic, exotic (St Kilda! To this small town kid it might have been Paris!), life of this beautifully messy character had me transfixed every week.
After the show ended (cue much sob from this addicted fan), I kept watching Samuel on big screen and small and looked on as his talent grew and his career blossomed. I even watched the dreaded Underbelly because he was on it.
Last year, Samuel took a break from acting to ride around Australia on a unicycle.
He did it for his sister.
Because, as his website states, “Plenty of career accolades have come his way. He’s enjoyed multiple Logie nominations, an AFI Award and an Australian Centenary Medal in the 2000 Queens Honours list. He’s very proud of all of this, but none of it is as important to him as his sister.
That’s why he’s setting out on this gruelling journey around Australia. Nothing will stop him keeping his promise to Connie.”
Connie has breast cancer. Samuel wants to help find a cure. I miss watching him on the telly but oh golly, I admire him so much more now for what he’s doing.
I’ve watched on social media as he pedalled his way around Oz. Today, at a morning tea on a horrible, grey Hobart morning, I got to meet him.
And he told me he will act again (hurrah), but he’ll be doing it mainly to keep his profile up so he can continue fighting to find a cure for this most devastating of diseases.
He smiled that exuberant smile and my admiration for him doubled again, watching him find the ability to laugh and to give and be kind in the middle of so much sadness.
And, of course, he must be freaking exhausted.
Of course, I said nothing articulate. Of course, I didn’t tell him I’d been a fan for nearly half my life, and that I was in awe of his talent and his strength and his bravery and his commitment and his love for his sister. I just let Tigesy give him a high five and hoped that said everything.
You can donate here: http://www.loveyoursister.org/index.php
And here is Tigesy with her new Love Your Sister bouncy ball. She was a bit smitten with Samuel too, I think. I’ll make her watch his shows, when she’s older. I’ll tell her that she met him and that he is the best of men.