For the past five years, 31-year-old actor Chris Salvator lived across the hall from his 89-year-old neighbor Norma Cook. But recently, the distance between the two has gotten even shorter after Salvator invited Cook to move in.
After months of saying hello through their kitchen windows, Salvator finally knocked on Cook’s door and introduced himself. “She offered me a glass of Champagne — it’s her favorite drink — and we just sat down and talked,” he said. “We connected right away.” That was about five years ago, and they’ve been friends ever since.
Last year, however, Salvator lost his neighbor for about two months when she got Leukemia and pneumonia, but when she was finally strong enough to go home, doctors wouldn’t let her back in her apartment without 24-hour care. Cook couldn’t afford it but Salvator knew how much she wanted to be home and raised over $50,000 through a GoFundMe account.
The money was a great help, but unfortunately, it didn’t last long. Without funds to pay for 24-hour care, Cook would be forced to move into a facility. “The only other option was for her to go into a facility. I just couldn’t do that to someone who is like my own grandmother,” Salvator said.
“She does not want to budge,” said Salvatore, who decided to ask Cook to move in to help her save money. “My apartment was the only place she would have moved. She has strong opinions about where she wants to carry out the rest of her days, and she wants to stay here.”
“The nurses and doctors told her that it would be a miracle if she lived past the holidays, so the fact that she’s still thriving is just a really great thing,” Salvator said. “Moving her in… it feels as though it was meant to be all along. It’s really fulfilling to be there for her.”
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[Featured image: Chris Salvatore]