‘CAN­CER WON’T TAKE ANY MORE OF OUR TEARS’

Their beloved sis­ter Con­nie has died but Sam and his sis­ter Hilde are still fight­ing in her mem­ory

Woman’s Day (Australia) - - Celebrity News - To sign up for Sam and Hilde’s Rain­bow Run, visit fundraise. syd­ney­har­bour10k.com.au

Seven months ago, Aus­tralia lost a hero – and Sam and Hilde John­son lost their best friend and sis­ter, Con­nie John­son.

Since the death of the mum-of-two, the duo have faced count­less hur­dles – spend­ing their first Christ­mas with­out Con­nie, look­ing out for their neph­ews Wil­loughby and Hamil­ton, and the daunt­ing prospect of con­tin­u­ing brave Con­nie’s legacy.

But through­out their heartache, one thing has re­mained abun­dantly clear – Sam and Hilde will con­tinue to fight can­cer and raise funds through their char­ity Love Your Sis­ter,

de­spite Con­nie no longer be­ing here. “Can­cer won’t take any more of my tears,” Sam tells Wo­man’s Day de­fi­antly. “Con­nie taught me that ‘now’ is awe­some. And if you’re lucky enough to have a now, you bet­ter bloody find that awe­some.”

NEW CHAL­LENGES

That “awe­some” is the in­spi­ra­tion be­hind Sam and Hilde’s up­com­ing in­volve­ment in the Real In­sur­ance Syd­ney Har­bour 10k and 5k – their Rain­bow Run, which Sam says is all about com­bat­ting “can­cer racism”. “One of Con­nie’s mantras keeps com­ing back. She said can­cer is a myr­iad of dis­eases and they must all be van­quished.” And the 40-year-old ac­tor – who once cy­cled 15,955km on a uni­cy­cle as part of one fundrais­ing ef­fort – is over the moon his sis­ter Hilde, 49, will be by his side for the chal­lenge. “Love Your Sis­ter has al­ways been known as a Con­nie and Sam thing, but what peo­ple don’t know is that noth­ing hap­pens with­out Hilde. Our par­ents are dead, so she’s the head of the fam­ily. She’s our su­per­hero big sis­ter. She’s un­doubt­edly the big­gest sin­gle in­flu­ence we had in our lives,” says Sam. “It’s been a plea­sure watch­ing Sam and Con­nie do what they’ve done and be­ing a part of it has been an hon­our,” adds Hilde. As for what the past seven months have been like, Hilde says it’s been tough – but she can feel Con­nie’s pres­ence more than ever. “She was such a mas­sive part of my life and I can see my cur­rent de­ci­sions be­ing made through her eyes,” she tells us. “And that’s a great com­fort to me.” Sam says he’s just grate­ful for the time he had with Con­nie. “I got 40 stun­ning years with her. I will never be greedy for more. I’m not an­gry about it, just grate­ful. I’m proud of what we achieved to­gether. We said ev­ery­thing we had to say, we did ev­ery­thing we had to do. It might sound weird, but we suc­ceeded. And I will fin­ish this for her.” Sam and Hilde say Con­nie’s boys, Wil­loughby, 11, and Hamil­ton, 10, who both live with their dad Mike, and also Sam and Hilde’s younger brother David – are do­ing well.

“Some­times it’s hard to find the right time and place to get them to open up, but they are re­silient and Con­nie pre­pared them beau­ti­fully. Their eyes have more sad­ness in them and they seem a lit­tle beyond their years since Con­nie died, but she gave them enough of her strength for us to know they’d be ab­so­lutely fine,” says Sam.

“Con­nie gave me one job with the boys – and that was to keep her [mem­ory] alive,” he adds. “Hilde and I have the re­spon­si­bil­ity of mak­ing sure the boys con­tinue to get to know their mother for who she was.”

FAM­ILY DY­NASTY

And it seems Wil­loughby is al­ready mir­ror­ing his fam­ily’s in­cred­i­ble achieve­ments. “He comes to me with sug­ges­tions and we have meet­ings about fundrais­ing,” re­veals Sam.

“He re­cently raised sev­eral hun­dred dol­lars at his pri­mary school and asked whether his mum would have been proud of him. We never set this up to be a fam­ily dy­nasty but it’s amaz­ing how much he’s tak­ing to it.”

‘Can­cer is a myr­iad of dis­eases and they must all be van­quished’

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