Richard Johnson's dying wish to finish Kemps Creek home

Final wish: Richard Johnson's doctor says he will be lucky to see Christmas. But the former glazier wants to finish building his Kemps Creek home. Picture: Chris Lane
Final wish: Richard Johnson's doctor says he will be lucky to see Christmas. But the former glazier wants to finish building his Kemps Creek home. Picture: Chris Lane

Richard Johnson has only a few months left to live but he's determined to fulfil his final wish - to finish building the family home he bought in Kemps Creek more than 20 years ago.

Mr Johnson was told earlier this year he had cancer again after getting the all-clear only a few months prior.

This time it wasn’t his thyroid. Tumours were buried throughout his body, including one the size of an egg near his heart.

But he was even more shocked to hear the cancer in his lungs was caused by asbestos. 

Given only months to live by the oncology team at the Nepean Cancer Treatment Centre, Mr Johnson has focused his attention on completing his dream home. But he needs some assistance.

He began building the house 22 years ago. But after a few financial obstacles, plans were put on hold.

“I’m quite driven and I like doing things myself,” he told The Champion.

“I began building the house with my own hands, including laying the roof tiles. I’ve always been fit and healthy, which is why I was surprised to find out this had happened to me.

“You like to think in your mind 'you're not dying', but they've told me I'd be lucky to see Christmas.”

The 57-year-old plans to continue the project but can’t do it by himself while undergoing chemotherapy. He recently contacted a builder for a quote. However, the $680,000 price deterred him.

“The quote was a bit extreme. I’m looking for alternatives now,” he said.

“It's been a dream to have a house like this for a family and it would be a dream to finish it. But if you don't have the finances, that’s all it is – a dream. Not reality. 

“I watch those television shows where people get help and that would be nice.

“But the truth is the only good things that happen to you are what you can do for yourself. I’ve never asked for help or have had expectations from anyone else.”

His sister Kim Johnson is determined to get the word out there so her brother can have his final wish.

“Richard has always been there for everyone else, such as his friends and family,” she said.

“He's always put other people before himself. It's about time something nice happened for my brother.

"He drew a picture of this house when he was nine-years-old and he said he was going to build a nice house.

“I said to him it was impossible, we were too poor. But he’s worked so hard to achieve this and he’s nearly there."

In the meantime, his son Danny moved into the partly built house to help. 

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Unfinished business: The large property is six acres. So far, only one-fifth of the home is complete. Mr Johnson bought the property when he was 21.

Unfinished business: The large property is six acres. So far, only one-fifth of the home is complete. Mr Johnson bought the property when he was 21.