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Help Karen Black Beat Cancer

By Jerry Portwood

The actress Karen Black is known to millions for her turns in such 1970s classics as The Great Gatsby and Nashville. She even played a trans character in 1982's Come Back to the Five and Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean. In the oddest tribute, she also inspired artist and performer Kembra Pfahler to name her band, The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black, after her. But it seems Karen Black's now in need of help from her fans. 

In a post on GoFundMe by her husband, Stephen Eckelberry, we learn that she has been "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." After traditional treatments seem to have helped, Black is now desperate. As stated on the site:

"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."

She and her husband have decided to try an experimental clinical study in Europe. The couple are hoping to get donations so that she can participate in the trial, which is not covered by insurance, for two months.

The Advocate spoke to Black in 2009 when she appeared in the movie The Blue Tooth Virgin and explained: "I’ve had a lot of failures and I never stopped. It didn’t occur to me to not continue. It didn’t cross my mind. I have known people who with a failure will become despondent about the future. That’s something you either do or don’t do. I think you just continue and you love your chosen art. Think of painters starving when no one bought their paintings—imagine if they didn’t paint anymore."

To find out more about how you can help Black, visit GoFundMe.

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