Hospiscare is campaigning for fair statutory funding for our hospice. To find out more, please see www.hospiscare.co.uk/fair 


Julie’s Story

100 Miles in May – The Julie Conway Memorial Challenge.

Hello, I’m Sam and in July 2023, my sister Julie sadly passed away from aggressive Bile Duct Cancer. She was only 48, far too young to leave us.

In the run up to her diagnosis, Julie was being looked after at the RD&E. She was a very active person and loved tennis – only a couple of weeks before Julie was diagnosed, she was plotting how to get out of hospital and watch the grand slam! It was after she was rushed to ICU for further tests that her devastating diagnosis was confirmed. The heart-breaking part of it all was that by the time we knew what she was fighting, she was no longer conscious and able to communicate with us.

My family vowed to not leave her side for a second as we were told she only had hours left.  We were sleeping on the cold hospital floor to ensure we kept a vigil by her bedside – her son Josh, her partner Chris, my parents, myself and my younger sister with our partners and her niece.

Julie defied all expectations and three days later, she was still hanging in there with us.

It was at this point we were introduced to the Hospiscare team – they wanted to relocate Julie to their specialist ward at Searle House in Exeter. We were scared. The word ‘hospice’ seemed so daunting. We knew we were facing the inevitable, but moving to a hospice felt so final.

Our unease was quickly swept away. The staff were amazing, and the environment was a breath of fresh air after long days and nights in the sterile hospital environment.  The staff not only cared for Julie, they cared for us;  offering support and counselling to get us through the dark moments along with a homely backdrop and beautiful gardens – it really soothed our souls during such an awful time. We slept well, ate proper cooked food and most importantly, were able to stay with Julie right to the end.  She took her final breath a couple of days later – each and every one of us surrounded her, reminding her how much we loved her as she slipped away.  We are all eternally grateful to Hospiscare for that.

Living without my sister and best friend has been tough. Movement and exercise has been an integral part of maintaining my own mental health, as I process the grief of losing my sister so early in life. I wanted to find a way to honour Julie’s memory every year, and to help ensure Hospiscare could be there for other people and their families faced with terminal illness.

That’s when I came up with “100 Miles in May” (May being Julie’s birth month). The idea is to run, walk, jog or cycle 100 miles during the month to improve your fitness and mental wellbeing, whilst raising money for this most wonderful charity!

So please, show your support, make every mile count and donate today. Thank you!

Find out more about 100 Miles in May