Those closest to Valerie Harper are hoping her fans will help out with her medical expenses.
A GoFundMe campaign shared to Harper’s official Facebook page has been created by a family friend for Harper’s husband, producer/actor Tony Cacciotti, who confirmed its authenticity to USA TODAY.
Harper, 79, known for roles on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “Rhoda,” overcame a 2009 lung cancer diagnosis. She revealed in 2013 that she had terminal brain cancer. Tests revealed leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, a rare condition that occurs when cancer cells spread into the fluid-filled membrane surrounding the brain. Harper told People magazine at the time she was opting for chemo.
But years later, the medical bills are piling up.
“Valerie has been grateful over the years for the medical breakthroughs along this difficult journey but insurance doesn’t cover everything,” the campaign states. “There are unrelenting medical costs on a continuous basis.
“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 immediately needed which is not covered by insurance,” the page continues. “This is just part of the daily cost that is without a doubt a financial burden that could never be met alone. This GoFundMe initiative from Tony, is to ensure she receives the best care possible.”
Harper and Cacciotti wed in 1987 and share one daughter, Cristina Harper.
Since kicking off on July 8, the campaign had raised more than $47,000, as of Thursday morning.
Fans were more than happy to help, according to comments left on the campaign page.
”She is worth ten thousand times this much for the entertainment she provided as Rhoda but I unfortunately don’t have that to give,” one donor posted. “Thank you for making the world a better place! I hope you get well soon!”
”I still watch ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’ and ‘Rhoda’ on dvd,” wrote another. “Mary and Valerie are two of my most favorite actresses. My heart is with Valerie and her loved ones. I love you, Valerie”
Last year, a GoFundMe setup for “Gilligan’s Island” actress Dawn Wells to assist with with medical and tax bills raised $205,510, according to the pledge page.
Contributing: Ann Oldenburg and Jayme Deerwester