Cancer warrior never forgotten
She was a hero to thousands of Aussies, who were moved by her big heart and the tireless way she and her brother Samuel fought to raise money for cancer research, even while she battled the insidious disease herself.
When Connie Johnson sadly lost her fight with breast cancer, the nation was comforted in the knowledge that Sam, her husband Mike, and their boys Willoughby, 11, and Hamilton, 10, will keep her memory alive – together.
“Hamilton is a mad unicyclist, and we’ll do most of our grieving at the skate park,” Gold Logie winner Sam tells Woman’s Day.
“Willoughby wants to run Love Your Sister and is very focused on the cancer conundrum, which he calls ‘the hardest Rubik’s cube in the whole world’.”
Known as “Uncle Puddles” to his nephews, Sam says, “They’ll be OK. Wib and Ham have a great dad who has them covered. Their base is strong and their support network solid. I’ll just keep being Uncle Puddles, on stand-by for any questions about Mum that might pop up. I’ve got good form with teenagers and I’m their man coming into this difficult phase for them.”
Sam and Connie set the bar high as role models for sibling relationships. The Secret Life Of Us star quit acting to focus on the Love Your Sister charity in support of Connie and others. And he was by her side until the end.
On September 8, Sam announced the sad news that 40-year-old Connie’s battle had come to an end in a poignant post on the Love Your Sister website, hours after she received the Medal of the Order of Australia for community service.
“It was so beautiful. We laughed, we cried, we sang stupid songs from our childhood to her, which she loved (mostly!),” wrote Sam, 39. “Thanks for everything, Connie Cottonsocks. It was my pleasure to be your Sammy Seal.”
Like any mum, Connie admitted she was terrified at the prospect of saying goodbye to her boys.
“When I got diagnosed as terminal, all I wanted and hoped for was to live long enough that my boys would remember their mum,” Connie said.
“I got that, they know me, know how much I love them, and will always remember their mum. I definitely got my miracle!”
As a tribute to Connie’s wonderful work, Woman’s Day has donated a total of $5000 to Love Your Sister to help find a cure for cancer. To donate, visit loveyoursister.org
‘Thanks for everything, Connie Cottonsocks’