- Publish Date
- Friday, 27 January 2017, 9:29AM
If you love unlikely friendships, have we got a story for you: A Hollywood actor, 31, and his 89-year-old neighbour are melting hearts with their touching bond in her last months of life.
Chris Salvatore met Norma Cook when he moved across the hall from her apartment four years ago, and the two bonded immediately.
In the past year, Cook's health has declined as she's refused treatment for leukemia. Since she has no family in the state, Salvatore has taken her in so she wouldn't be forced to live in a county nursing home.
'I’m giving her a gift of passing on and being at peace and having a good time in her last few months,' Salvatore told People of Cook.
In a post on Go Fund Me, Salvatore writes that he first met his 'sassy' and 'full of life' neighbour Norma four years ago.
Salvatore says his neighbour would often wave to him from her kitchen window, and eventually he decided to walk over to introduce himself by knocking on her door.
'She offered me a glass of Champagne - it's her favourite drink - and we just sat down and talked. We connected right away,' Salvatore told the Today show.
The two became best friends immediately, and Cook now calls Salvatore 'the grandson I never had'.
During their talks, Salvatore learned that Norma had been diagnosed with leukemia 10 years ago and recently had to give up her car.
She was struggling to make ends meet, with no money saved up and most of her Social Security check going towards rent each month.
Things have gotten even harder in the past eight months though, as Norma's health has declined. She was hospitalised several times in the past year, and during her most recent hospitalisation, doctors said she would not longer be able to live alone unless she had 24-hour care, something she did not have the funds for.
'Norma's last wish is to be at home with her cat Hermes as she transitions into the next life. She has been there for me so much these last past years just as much as I have been there for her and I feel that it is my duty to be able to give her this gift to live her last moments at home with 24 hour professional care,' Salvatore said.
When Norma was released from the hospital, she moved in to live with Salvatore full time.
'I do most of my work at home so I am here most of the time to care for her so it only made sense to the both of us,' he said.
When Salvatore can't be there, caregivers are watching out for Norma.
The two now spend their time cooking, watching the news and enjoying, as always, a little champagne.
Salvatore says he hopes their story will inspire other people to reach out to their neighbours - no matter their age.
'I want others to be inspired to be more kind to strangers and neighbours you may see who may seem different than you,' he told People.
'Norma taught me that, and I want others to learn from her. Kindness heals and we’re all on this planet together. When you light a lamp for someone else it brightens your own path.'