Christopher Reeve's Widow Announces She Has Cancer
August 9, 2005
The world is still reeling from the devastating news of Peter Jennings' death from lung cancer, but now comes another shocker: Christopher Reeve's widow, Dana, is now suffering from the same form of cancer.
The woman who stood bravely by her husband's side until his death last October was forced to go public with her illness in light of a pending National Enquirer article. Reeve broke the news on her own Web site, saying, "Based on the imminent release of a tabloid article regarding my personal health, my family and I have decided to release our own statement. I have recently been diagnosed with lung cancer and am currently undergoing treatment."
People magazine's Senior Editor Patrick Roger told us that Reeve's lung cancer is different from the disease that took Jennings' life. "Dana Reeve never smoked," Roger said. "But this happens in 15 percent of people who have lung cancer. They are patients who have never smoked."
This has been a very difficult time for Reeve, to say the least. On the heels of her husband's death 10 months ago, her own 71-year-old mother, Helen, passed away in February.
Reeve recently told Larry King, "Yes, sadly we've had a lot of losses in our family in a very short period of time. My mom died. She was 71, she died from complications after surgery for ovarian cancer, and she was just diagnosed just three weeks ago."
Concerning her own illness, Reeve said, "I have an excellent team of physicians, and we are optimistic about my prognosis. My family and I deeply appreciate the care and concern of our friends and supporters and trust that everyone understands our need and desire for privacy during this time."
Reeve's dear friend, Robin Williams, released this statement: "We hope their need for privacy is respected so Dana can focus on her healing."
Reeve, who has been championing her husband's fight for stem cell research in Washington, remains optimistic, saying, "I hope before too long to be sharing news of my good health and recovery."
Reeve recently told our Tanika Ray how important it is for public figures to face their challenges with the hope of helping others. "I think you have a responsibility to forward things if you are a face or personality that people want to listen to and point a camera at," she had said. "You need to use that responsibility."
And Reeve said that Chris, even in his death, will be there to help her: "Now more than ever, I feel Chris with me as I face this challenge. As always, I look to him as the ultimate example of defying the odds with strength, courage and hope in the face of life's adversities."
Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Dana.