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Karen Black Cancer: Actress Crowdfunding for New Treatment

By Tara MacIsaac
Epoch Times Staff
Created: March 26, 2013 Last Updated: March 28, 2013
Related articles: Arts & Entertainment » Celebrities
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Karen Black Cancer: Actress Karen Black, 73, is making a final effort to battle cancer with a new treatment in Europe. Costly medical bills have dried up her savings, but her husband has raised money through a crowd-sourcing website.

Actress Karen Black arrives for the world premiere of "Hitchcock" at the AFI Fest 2012 presented by Audi, at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, Calif., Nov. 1, 2012. (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

Actress Karen Black arrives for the world premiere of "Hitchcock" at the AFI Fest 2012 presented by Audi, at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, Calif., Nov. 1, 2012. (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

Karen Black, who appeared in many television shows and movies in the 1970s and ’80s such as “Five Easy Pieces” with Jack Nicholson, is making a final effort to battle cancer with a new treatment in Europe.

Her fight against cancer has dried up her financial resources and left her at an emaciated 96 pounds—but funds raised through crowd sourcing site gofundme.com have given her and her family new hope.

Black was diagnosed with ampullary cancer in November 2010, explains her husband, Stephen Eckelberry, in a post on gofundme.com. She had a third of her pancreas removed and underwent chemo and radiation therapy.

Her two-year long battle has seen remissions and renewed flare-ups. Unable to eat enough because of the chemo and because having part of her pancreas removed has affected her digestion, the 73-year-old has gone from 156 pounds to 96 pounds.

“Her oncologist in Los Angeles has recommended that she do chemo therapy, but the problem is that she is skin and bones,” writes Eckelberry. “Karen’s family physician of many years called us two weeks ago and told us of success she has had with several of her patients doing a treatment in Europe as part of a clinical study there.”

Eckelberry explained that he could not give the details at the moment, but would as they got more involved. He said they know two patients who have recovered remarkably.

The crowd-sourcing campaign succeeded in raising $28,839 from 564 people in 11 days, as of Tuesday morning.

One donor named Kate Roy left a message: “I hope this helps, Karen. My thoughts are with you. And you should be proud—you did more with your life than I ever did!”

Another donor, Michael Martin, writes: “Stay strong and know that you are not alone.”

On Monday night, Eckelberry posted a thank-you note on the page: “Everybody thank you so much for the donations and kind thoughts. Karen and are touched beyond belief. It’s so great to know she can make this trip. I promise to keep everybody updated. Any additional money that is raised beyond our goal will go towards my going with her.”

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