Less than two weeks after a friend launched a crowdfunding campaign to help defray the medical costs of treating Valerie Harper's brain cancer, the actress' husband says doctors have told him there is little hope left.
"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," wrote Harper's spouse Tony Cacciotti on his wife's Facebook account and at the Valerie Harper Cancer Support Fund GoFundMe page Tuesday.
"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," said Cacciotti, her husband since 1987. "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."
Four-time Emmy Award-winner Harper, 79 — immortalized as Rhoda Morgenstern on the classic 1970s sitcom "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and its spinoff, "Rhoda" -- was diagnosed in January 2013 with the rare cancer leptomeningeal carcinomatosis and given three months to live. After announcing the diagnosis publicly that March she underwent chemotherapy and, defying odds, continued to perform in a host of live-action and voiceover roles. In June 2013 her doctor had declared Harper was "pretty close to a remission."
Harper "did so much for so many people and once they heard what was happening, they all started coming forward," Cacciotti, who is in his late 70s, told People magazine Tuesday. "Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine it would happen like this. It's really amazing."
"There are two special ANGELS on this planet masquerading as humans who live and work together, that have made it possible to have all of Val's needs taken care of," Cacciotti continued, referring in part to the couple's friend, identified as Deanna B., who raised more than $66,000 since July 8 to help pay for Harper's treatment.
He added, "I just didn't want to put her into hospice care and now we're going to be able to keep her here at home. She's hanging in there. We have good days and we have tough days."