WEDDINGS
06/12/2014 08:59 am ET Updated Jun 12, 2014

Man Paints His Toenails To Cheer Up Wife After Cancer Diagnosis; Hundreds Of Strangers Join In

Nail polish can't cure cancer, but when applied correctly, it can sure help a cancer patient's outlook on life.

When Valerie Brosdal was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in August 2013, her husband, Ralph Kapostins, sought to lift her spirits by taking her for a pedicure. Valerie painted her toes purple, her favorite color, so Ralph figured he'd paint his nails purple, too, hoping to make her smile.

It worked, reports NBC Bay Area, so Ralph, inspired by his wife's smile, posted a photo of their purple toenails on Facebook. He asked others to share photos of their own purple-painted toenails in support of Valerie, and the idea took off.

So far, Ralph told NBC, about 400 people -- "good friends, complete strangers, women, men, kids, entire families and pets, including dogs, cats and even a couple of horses" -- have shared photos.

No joke about the horses:

The project has been aided in part by a friend, Susan Woolf, who started a "Purple Toes Campaign" through the Lung Cancer Foundation, which allows anyone to submit a photo of his or her purple-painted toes for a living mural.

Valerie seems pretty thrilled.

"I've got a huge grin on my face," she wrote on Facebook in response to someone who had submitted photos. "Thank you!"

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