Valerie Harper’s Husband Says He Can’t Send Her to Hospice

July 25, 2019 Updated: July 25, 2019

Valerie Harper’s husband says he will not follow doctors’ advice to put his wife in hospice care.

Tony Cacciotti posted a note on his wife’s official Facebook page Tuesday regarding her current medical state.

“I have been told by doctors to put Val in Hospice care and I can’t [because of our 40 years of shared commitment to each other] and I won’t because of the amazing good deeds she has graced us with while she’s been here on earth,” the note began. “We will continue going forward as long as the powers above allow us, I will do my very best in making Val as comfortable as possible.”


The actress, who shot to stardom in the early 1970s as Rhoda Morgenstern on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and later starred as that character in a spinoff, has been battling cancer for years.

Harper was first diagnosed with lung cancer in 2009.

In 2013, she was given three months to live after she was diagnosed with leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, a condition that occurs when cancer cells spread into the fluid-filled membrane surrounding the brain, known as the meninges.

Valerie-Harper
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)

She told People she was “stunned” when she first came to know about it.

“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.

But the 79-year-old actress has defied the odds and even participated in the reality competition show “Dancing With the Stars” in 2014.

Her family recently announced a GoFundMe account had been established to help pay for Harper’s medical care.

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.

Valerie Harper
Valerie Harper’s husband says he will not follow doctors’ advice to put his wife in hospice care. The actress has been battling cancer for years. (Angela Weiss/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.

On Tuesday, her husband posted in his note that “For those of you who have been in this position, you will totally understand that ‘it’s hard letting go.'”

“So as long as I’m able and capable, I’ll be where I belong right beside her,” Cacciotti wrote. “Many, many thanks for your outpouring of kindness and support.”

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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 GoFundMe.

“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.

Epoch Times reporter Venus Upadhayaya contributed to this article.

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