‘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
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.”
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.”
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’