Dan Conway was out for a 5-mile run with buddies on LIVING his 79th birthday when he felt a strange pain. It was pancreatic cancer. He soon learned the illness was terminal and that he only had a few days to live. Dan had one request. “I’ve lived a good life. I want to have a good death,” he told Lynne Hoff, his close companion of ten years.
Lynne looked into Solvay Hospice House, where Dan would gratefully reside for the next four weeks. During that time, “He held court,” Lynne says, with so many people visiting so often, with so much laughter and storytelling, that she thought the “tsunami of activity” would be too much for the hospice house. All the family and friends. The runners, students and athletes of all ages and backgrounds. The musicians who came to play—with Dan on ukulele or banjo— and perform house concerts or take special requests from patients in their rooms. As someone who spent 40 years working in a hospital, Lynne was astounded by Solvay’s delightfully accommodating approach. “No matter what challenges you face in your life, remember: You can carry on regardless!” –Dan Conway
“What wonderful, compassionate care,” Lynne says. “I was really struck by it. It’s as if they’re in the background letting things happen.” Dan made much happen in life. And no matter what happened, he carried on. His novel, Carry on Regardless, recounts life lessons as an elite runner who traveled the world pursuing his passion. When he wasn’t winning races and setting world records, he inspired students as a teacher and coach in Chetek and Superior, Wisconsin. Friends say he always took challenges in stride with a focus on dignity, always dignity—just like the home where he spent his last days. “It was a space that allowed him to enjoy his life and friends, who meant the world to him,” Lynne says. “Solvay just adapted to his lifestyle and wishes to let him live his life. They let him carry on regardless.”
Solvay Hospice House
More than a home, it’s a setting where the experience of dying can resonate with life. The Miller-Dwan Foundation relies on ongoing generosity to maintain the facility and ensure everyone has access to this unique resource. Click here to designate a gift in support of Solvay Hospice House.