Actress Karen Black has turned to online crowd-funding in an effort to pay for cancer treatment, reports Deadline Hollywood.
The 73-year-old, who starred alongside Jack Nicholson in "Easy Rider" and "Five Easy Pieces," was diagnosed with ampullary cancer in November 2010. After undergoing an operation to remove a third of her pancreas, followed by chemo and radiation therapy, the actress was thought to have beaten the disease in July 2011. But sadly, just a few months later, the cancer returned and it has now spread to her lungs and lower back.
Now, Black is looking to raise $17,000 so she'll be able to enroll in an experimental treatment in Europe. Black's fundraising campaign was launched on March 14, and she's already raised close to $14,000.
Black's husband Stephen Eckelberry explains on the Gofundme page that the campaign is necessary, despite Black's successful career as an actress:
"So here is the big question; why would someone like Karen need money," Eckelberry acknowledged, and explained:
"Yes, she was an actress in movies, but most of the high-paying work dwindled out many years ago. She has a modest pension and medical insurance (thank goodness), but as anyone knows who has fought cancer, that is not enough. In the last two years we have used up all of our savings keeping Karen alive – traveling – treatments, getting people to help her. We have nothing left. And the European treatment is not covered by insurance."
According to Eckelberry, Black had been battling cancer privately as she was hoping she would be cured and would be able to call herself a survivor, but decided to come forward with the public campaign as it could be her last hope at beating the disease.
Eckelberry wrote that he wasn't able to go into detail about the treatment his wife is seeking in Europe, but "we have to move fast, Karen needs to go in the next few weeks, otherwise she might be to weak to go at all."
UPDATE: As of this writing, Karen Black's Gofundme campaign has raised close to $24,000, greatly exceeding the original goal of $17,000. According to her husband, all additional donations will go towards allowing him to accompany her while she's receiving treatment:
"Everybody thank you so much for the donations and kind thoughts. Karen and are touched beyond belief. It's so great to know she can make this trip. I promise to keep everybody updated. Any additional money that is raised beyond our goal will go towards my going with her. THIS IS AMAZING THANK YOU SO MUCH," he wrote.