Drawing upon transformative service research and social tourism literature, this paper explores the relationship between respite care and childhood illness. It focuses specifically upon the short break opportunities attached to respite care offered in children's hospices in the United Kingdom. Pathographies (illness narratives), shared by patients, siblings and family (n = 23), provide unique insights into ways in which each participate in respite care. Participation prompts inclusivity and normality. It offers a break from illness, and contributes to uplifting feelings of optimism, escapism and new beginnings. Conclusions drawn argue the need for healthcare policy to move beyond ‘Dying Well’ narratives into ones which celebrate ‘Living Well with Dying’. Tourism participation has much to offer such a progressive healthcare policy.