Maria Marasigan wants to send Connie Johnson a little bit of Macarthur love.
The mum-of-four has followed Connie’s journey since she came into the spotlight with the Love Your Sister Foundation several years ago.
Connie is suffering terminal breast cancer and has been a fierce campaigner for cancer research, alongside her brother, gold Logie winner Samuel Johnson.
Mrs Marasigan’s best friend Marie Ramos, a photographer and artist, decided this year to help the Johnsons on their mission to raise $10 million for the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Darlinghurst.
Ms Ramos is creating a massive artwork made of 2000 individually-crafted tiles with heart-shaped imprints. People pay $50 for to create an imprinted tile and all funds go to the campaign.
To help out her best friend, Mrs Marasigan will host an event at her Leumeah home, encouraging the entire Macarthur community to get onboard.
“Marie has done a fantastic job and she’s halfway through her goal of $100,000 for breast cancer research,” Mrs Marasigan said.
“Usually we don’t have the public in our home, but Connie has inspired us to do this, to have people here helping Marie reach her goal.
“We want to bring people together and show some love for what Connie has done for everyone.
“This is our way of sending her love from the people of Campbelltown.”
The mother-of-four will open up her house and yard – which is the famous Leumeah castle at the bottom of Dowling Street, built in the 1970s – to the community on Saturday, September 16.
The event will see Ms Ramos set up at the imprinting station, a jumping castle and face-painter for the kids and pink-coloured snacks to support breast cancer.
Campbelltown MP Greg Warren will also be making an appearance to show his support for the cause and make a tile.
“Your tile is not just for Connie, but it’s also for you to remember someone you know,” Mrs Marasigan said.
“We all know somebody who has had cancer. No matter who you are, we all share the same feelings towards sadness and loss.
“We all feel the same way when we’re stricken when a loved one is sick.”
Mrs Marasigan said Connie’s openness and strength throughout her cancer struggle was amazing and inspiring.
She said anybody unfamiliar with the 40-year-old’s story should do themselves a favour and look it up.
“I encourage people to know Connie Johnson’s journey – she and her brother Samuel have been raising millions of dollars to research a cure for cancer and I think it’s very admirable that they’ve done that,” she said.
“We are all going to benefit from that in one way or another.”
Ms Ramos said undertaking this project was the perfect way to celebrate her own personal milestone.
“It’s the tenth anniversary of my business – Marie Ramos Photography – this year, so I wanted to take the year to give back to the community,” she said.
“I’ve been following Love Your Sister since the beginning of Sam’s journey and I decided I wanted to contribute to the charity.”
Ms Ramos said it was a ‘humbling’ feeling to know her little art project was helping the Johnsons in a big way.
“Without everyone’s hearts and help it wouldn’t be possible,” she said.
“It’s a crowdfunded charity project, so I’m very grateful.”
The artist encouraged all Macarthur locals to attend the event, say hello and make their $50 contribution to the project.
“Come along, it’s a very community-based project and it’s all love,” she said.
“All the funds are going to a great place and it will be a great day for families and a great excuse for everyone to come together for cancer research.”
The final art project will be unveiled at the Garvan Institute on October 30, with Connie Johnson’s own heart imprint having pride of place in the centre.
Anyone wishing to take part in the project who cannot make the event on September 16 can contact Marie Ramos (firstname.lastname@example.org) to arrange their own imprint.