Valerie Harper Reaches Fans on GoFundMe for Support to Pay for Cancer Treatment

By Venus Upadhayaya, Epoch Times
July 19, 2019 Updated: July 25, 2019

Valerie Harper’s family is reaching out to fans through GoFundMe to raise money for the veteran actor’s cancer treatment.

According to the People, Harper’s husband, Tony Cacciotti, and friend, Deanna B., created the GoFundMe campaign.

The 79-year-old actor survived lung cancer in 2009. However, since 2013, she has been fighting leptomeningeal carcinomatosis. It’s a rare “complication of cancer in which the disease spreads to the membranes (meninges) surrounding the brain and spinal cord,” according to Medscape.

Doctors gave Valerie only three months to live after she was diagnosed with leptomeningeal carcinomatosis. She told People she was “stunned” when she first came to know about it.

Valerie Harper steps out in New York City for the American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE as it launches its Share Your Voice initiative to raise awareness of the number one cancer killer of women, lung cancer, in New York City on May 12, 2015. (Theo Wargo/Getty Images for American Lung Association)

“I was stunned … and in the next minute I thought, ‘This could draw more attention to cancer research.’ I think there’s an opportunity to help people,’” she told People.

The actor has lived beyond the time doctors gave her after the 2013 diagnosis.

“Valerie has defied all odds and continued working and enjoying each day years beyond what doctors had expected.  Her husband, Tony Cacciotti, has been by her side, giving her support and hope every step of the way,” Deanna B wrote on GoFundMe.

The GoFundMe campaign is being shared on Valerie’s Facebook page. It gives updates on her medical condition: “Many of Valerie Harper’s fans have asked how she is doing.

Actress Valerie Harper and writer/producer Allan Burns speak onstage at the 32nd annual Television Critics Association Awards during the 2016 Television Critics Association Summer Tour at The Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California on August 6, 2016. (Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

“Valerie is currently taking a multitude of medications and chemotherapy drugs as well as going through extreme physical and painful challenges now with around the clock, 24/7 care needed immediately. Health insurance and patient care costs are out of our hands. This GoFundMe account has been established to ensure she receives the best care possible,” said the campaign assistant on Facebook.

The campaign began on July 8 and has raised over $59,000 and had been shared over 6,300 times at the time of this publication.

Harper shot to fame as Mary Richard’s neighbor, Rhoda, on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” in 1970. According to the People, the actor later starred in popular sitcom “Valerie in 1980.”

Actress Valerie Harper speaks onstage during The Survivor Mitzvah Project: A benefit for Holocaust survivors at Webster Hall in New York City on May 9, 2015. (Noam Galai/Getty Images for The Survivor Mitzvah Project)

According to the GoFundMe campaign, her career has revolved around dance, theatre, television sitcoms, and movies.

In the span of her career, she won four Emmys, a Golden Globe, and a Tony Award nomination for her character as Tallulah Bankhead in “Looped.”

People responded with support and wishes for Valerie on GoFundMe and Facebook. “She is a legend. Deserves support with love and gratitude for the enjoyment she has given people in her life. I love you,” wrote Scott Sperber on GoFuneMe.

“I love Valerie Harper! She brought me so much joy playing the character Rhoda in the 1970s. She will always be dear to me because she was one of the first adult characters on TV that spoke to me when I was a young person. Thank you for all the good times, Valerie,” wrote Kristin Olsson.

The campaign said though all the calls and emails cannot be answered, but Valerie will read all the comments written on the GoFundMe platform. “Your care and support is greatly appreciated,” it said.

Follow Venus on Twitter: @venusupadhayaya
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