“It was just crazy that day.
I was running around trying to get my Thanksgiving errands done, and it all happened so fast I didn’t have time to process it.
Just in the first five hours, we raised enough money for Norma to come home.”
Four years ago, Chris Salvatore moved in across the hall from a friendly, full-of-life 85-year-old named Norma. After a couple weeks of waving hello through their kitchen windows, Chris decided to knock on Norma’s door. That decision would change his life forever.
Chris and Norma became fast friends. Over the years, they got together to cook, laugh, and share their bond with the world in a series of fun videos.
Then, Norma became sick.
At the age of 89, Norma’s health began to decline rapidly. She was in and out of the hospital with many health complications, including leukemia, and soon ran out of money.
With no family nearby and a monthly Social Security check that barely covered rent, Norma faced losing her home and beloved cat, Hermes, unless she could find a way to pay for 24-hour healthcare.
Chris saw Norma’s despair and knew he needed to take action. That week, he started a GoFundMe.
Within seven hours, “Help Norma Pay for 24-hour Home Care” raised over $25,000. A month later, the campaign has now raised over $50,000. Friends, fans, and even complete strangers chipped in to help Norma come home.
“I’m so happy I was able to give her this gift of living her last days at home,” Chris said. “I can’t imagine what it’s like to go through the end of your life at a hospital without your friends or pets.
I never expected to raise $50,000. It was definitely a miracle.”
Back in November, nurses told Chris they didn’t expect Norma to make it past the holidays. She continues to prove them wrong.
As too many caretakers know, 24-hour care is costly. Chris raised enough to support Norma through the holidays, but it became clear he’d need to find a longer-term solution.
Last week, Chris invited Norma and Hermes to move in with him so he can assist with her care part-time and help her funds last longer. He plans to use any excess funds to help others in similar situations.
Recently, we asked Chris what this experience has meant to him.
“My life has changed forever because of Norma and what happened. It gave me hope again. I’m forever grateful for Norma because I feel like I’ll carry this with me for the rest of my life.
I want to inspire more people to use GoFundMe and do something kind for others — whether they’re friends, neighbors, or even strangers. Changing someone’s life will change your own forever.”
2/16/17 Editor’s Note: On February 15th, Norma passed away peacefully with Chris at her side. Our condolences and deep thanks to Chris for his exceptional love and care for Norma. Their beautiful friendship inspired people all over the world, and we are honored that they shared their story with us.