Connie Johnson, sister of actor Samuel Johnson, cherished mother-of-two and one of the bravest women we’ve ever had the privilege of observing, has died following a seven year battle with breast cancer.
Samuel revealed the heartbreaking news on the Love Your Sister Facebook page earlier this evening.
Connie’s death comes the day after she was awarded an Order in the Medal of Australia for her tireless work fighting breast cancer. Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove presented the medal to Connie in her room at Canberra’s Clare Holland House, the palliative care hospice where she had moved two months ago.
“We lost Connie today. Or, as she asked me to say, she died of cancer today. It was so beautiful. We laughed, we cried, we sang stupid songs from our childhood to her, which she loved (mostly!),” Samuel wrote, on Facebook.
“I read her so many village messages, which she relished. She went so richly, and with such grace. Trust me, she was genuinely cushioned by your love, till the end.”
Love for Connie
Samuel asked people to leave tributes for his sister on the Love for Connie website.
“I’m off to cuddle the fam and warmly embrace an exquisite whisky, in memory of my sister, who did so bloody well, from start to finish. Thanks for everything, Connie Cottonsocks. It was my pleasure to be your Sammy Seal.”
A lasting legacy
Back in May, Samuel and Connie, through the Big Heart Project, raised over $2 million for breast cancer research at the Garvan Institute. Connie’s final fundraising mission for Love Your Sister involved the collection of more than 3.9 million five cent coins to pull together the world’s longest ever line of coins. On May 10, in her hometown of Canberra, Connie lay the coins in the shape of a massive love heart. She smashed the world record and the initial goal of raising $1 million for cancer research.
The $2.2 million raised boosted the total that Love Your Sister has raised to $5 million. An outstanding figure that is testament to the tireless efforts of both Samuel and Connie in ‘vanquishing cancer’ for good.
The boobie bus
The pair also spearheaded the “Check your boobs” initiative which reminds women, in particular busy mums, to check their breasts monthly. In Connie’s case, it took three mis-diagnosises before her eventual correct diagnosis with breast cancer. By that time, the disease had taken hold and begun its spread to her lungs, liver, pelvis, spine and knee.
On the Love Your Sister website, the ‘boobie bus’ reminds us that it may not be the ‘funnest thing to do’ but it ‘beats the alternative’. Connie’s one big regret in life is not being more proactive during this process. She’s paying the ultimate price and is desperate to prevent you going down the same road.
Connie’s fierce spirt, tenacity and ability to see the good (and actively work towards it) in even the darkest of situations is something that will be remembered and continue to be built upon thanks to the legacy left behind. Connie, you will always remain a true champion. Our sincerest condolences to her partner, sons and family on their loss. There surely will be a brand new star shining brightly in the sky tonight.