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Help Karen Black beat cancer

Karen Black

Actress Karen Black, whom House of 1000 Corpses fans will be familiar with for her role as Mama Firefly, has launched a crowd-funding campaign to get much needed medical treatment to fight ampullary cancer.  First diagnosed in 2010, Black was informed the cancer had come back, after a brief respite, in June 2012.  The disease has left her very ill and her medical expenses have dried up her savings.  Rob Zombie, Sheri Moon Zombie and Bill Moseley are among her friends who are supporting this.  To donate: http://www.gofundme.com/2b7alc To find out more about the fund, with a message from her husband Stephen Eckelberry please 

A message from Stephen Eckelberry, husband of Karen Black.  To donate: http://www.gofundme.com/2b7alc

“Some of you may remember my wife, Karen Black. She contributed tremendous work as an actress in movies of the seventies and eighties. If you’ve ever enjoyed her work, now is your chance to reach back to Karen – because Karen needs your help.

Karen has waging a battle for over two years with cancer. She has not talked about this publicly because she was hoping it would be cured and she could call herself a cancer survivor.

Karen was diagnosed with ampullary cancer in November of 2010. She immediately had the “Whipple,” one of the most serious operations that is performed at the Mayo clinic were she had it done– a third of her pancreas was removed. This was followed by extensive chemo and radiation back home at UCLA in the Spring and Summer of 2011. After suffering through nausea, fainting and losing over thirty pounds, she was finally declared NED – No Evidence of Disease in July.

But by December 2011 a small tumor developed and another surgery was in order, which left her completely bed-ridden. Her cancer seemed conquered though. By spring 2012 she was doing a lot better and could walk around and was almost normal.

But in June 2012, the cancer came back – and it started spreading – one near her lungs and one in her lower back.

We started trying different things – through hit and miss we found some alternative treatments that seem to help, and she went to Cedar Sinai in Los Angeles and had two operations in January and February to freeze the tumor in her lower back that by then had grown to be four pounds. Even though the operation was a success, Karen was completely debilitated – even now she can hardly move around and is mostly bed-bound.

The cancer is minimized, but we know from past experience that it won’t be long before it comes back. Her oncologist in Los Angeles has recommended that she do chemo therapy, but the problem is that she is skin and bones – before starting on this journey she weighed 156 pounds, she now weighs 96 pounds. That’s a third of her body weight! Part of the problem is that missing a pancreas she doesn’t digest food, and also chemo makes it very difficult to eat.

Karen has been confronting the fact that she would die soon if she didn’t do something.

BUT THERE IS HOPE. Karen’s family physician of many years called us two weeks ago and told us of success she has had with several of her patients doing a treatment in Europe as part of a clinical study there. I cannot go into more details now, but I promise I will in the future as we get involved. I will say that this is a medically supervised program and it targets Karen’s kind of cancer. In fact, we personally know two of the patients that have had remarkable recoveries from cancer there. So we know it works, and right now it is her best and only shot.

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.

Karen will be there for two months.

So here is the big question; why would someone like Karen need money?

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.

Your contribution will cover travel, living and treatment expenses for two months and will give Karen a chance. Please help anyway you can, we humbly accept it.

Thank you.

Stephen Eckelberry”

Tweets spreading the word of the Help Karen Black fund:


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8 Responses

  1. Kimberly Pierce

    I am so sorry to hear of yet one more person hit with cancer. Happenings like this is so over whelming. My mom died of cancer. I am homeless, but I can surely send some thing to help. sorry.

    April 1, 2013 at 6:42 pm

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  3. Agustin Ignacio Agudo

    I am so sorry to hear about the Karen Black´s desease. I would like to help because my Mom had breast cancer and she successfully got over it.
    I am broke right now and I would like to help Mrs. Black because she has always been an exceptional actress but I really cannot do it. My dear mom passed away about one year ago because of different reasons from Karen´s and I would like to give Karen all my support and prayers and for her husband as well.
    I wish she would improve!


    March 27, 2013 at 1:34 pm

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  5. cheryl wolfgram

    Okay icf I pass on to her school alumni maine east? Perhaps they could help.

    March 26, 2013 at 10:46 pm

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  7. ACZombieUndertaker22

    I have donated in support of helping Karen Black’s quality of health improve and I know in my heart everyone will wish her the best for her recovery.

    March 26, 2013 at 9:40 pm

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  9. Vincent Cobb

    I’ve followed Karen Black’s career for many years and it saddens me to hear of her battle with cancer and her depleated finances. I’ve loved her many great performances, in a wide genre of films, including House of a 1000 Corpses. One might also want to check out the following: Trilogy of Terror, The Great Gatsby, Nashville, Five Easy Pieces, Comeback to the 5 & 10 Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, The Pyx, Firecracker, Airport 1975, and Day of the Locust.

    I’ve often wondered why she doesn’t have a star on the Hollywood-Walk-of-Fame? Seems like a disgrace to not include someone who has such talent.

    March 26, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    • Vincent Cobb

      Burnt Offerings and Gypsy 83 should also have been included in Karen Black’s ‘not to miss’ film list.

      March 28, 2013 at 6:04 pm

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  11. yellow bird

    Sad story;(

    But true
    that devil (a.k.a cancer)took one of my family members;(few years ago.

    Cool the mighty RZ. And wifey helping*Star power …I hope for the best.

    March 26, 2013 at 2:49 pm

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  13. Marilee

    Get. Better soon.xoxo

    March 26, 2013 at 2:45 pm