real life

The story of a young man 'adopting' his elderly, ill neighbour is almost too adorable.

The unexpected friendship struck between the young Californian man and his 89-year-old neighbour grew into a bond that has changed both their lives.

In an act of kindness that allowed Norma Cook to afford the medical care she needs while living with leukaemia, the actor has asked his elderly neighbour to move in with him.

The friendship began soon after Chris Salvatore moved into his LA apartment four years ago and introduced himself to Norma – the woman living across the hall from him.

Mexican food, margaritas and good friends! #myneighbornorma

A photo posted by Chris Salvatore (@chrissalvatore) on

Chris learned that Norma had no family living nearby and soon became “the grandson she never had”, cooking meals with her and helping her run errands.

“I would help her cook meals, drive her to the doctors, banks, pharmacies and even just recently I got the amazing experience to accompany her to vote,” Chris said.

“We had such a blast these past few years filled with so much joy and laughter.”

However, it was when Norma’s health began to decline late last year that Chris proved what the woman had come to mean to him.

Happy New Year from Norma and me. She rang in 2017 in style last night! ???????? #myneighbornorma

A photo posted by Chris Salvatore (@chrissalvatore) on

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Norma’s battle with leukaemia and other health conditions had forced her to pay medical bills she couldn’t afford with her pension.

Chris was told by one of her nurses that if she “makes it through the holidays that it would be a miracle”.

Not about to sit back and watch his best friend suffer in hospital, Chris started a crowd-funding campaign on GoFundMe, with the aim of raising enough money so Norma could spend her final days at home.

Donors were touched by Chris and Norma’s story and it didn’t take them long to raise more than $50,000, allowing Norma to receive medical care at home.

“I’m so happy I was able to give her this gift of living her last days at home,” Chris told GoFundMe.

“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 US$50,000 (AU$66,000). It was definitely a miracle.”

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Almost two months later, Norma is still “thriving” against the odds and Chris has made the decision to invite the 89-year-old to move in with him to make her money last longer.

In a post to Instagram earlier this week, Chris told his followers the good news.

“I am so happy to share that she is continuing to prove the doctors and nurses wrong by continuing to thrive!”

“To prolong the remaining funds to prevent her from having to be moved into a county facility, Norma and I have decided to move her into my apartment across the hall where she now has her own beautiful room and bathroom!”

Chris said while he mostly works from home, carers continued to tend to her needs.

“She loves it! 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.”

“She is my adopted grandmother and I am her grandson she never had.”

I hope this little update will bring some sunshine to your rainy day here in La. We are reaching the 2 month mark since my neighbor Norma has come home from the hospital and I am so happy to share that she is continuing to prove the doctors and nurses wrong by continuing to THRIVE! To prolong the remaining funds to prevent her from having to be moved into a county facility, Norma and I have decided to move her into my apartment across the hall where she now has her own beautiful room and bathroom! She loves it! 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. She is my adopted grandmother and I am her grandson she never had. :) We will still have caregivers coming in to care for her as well as her weekly hospice visits from the nurses and doctors. I just wanted to let you all know Norma loves reading your comments and I seriously think all the support and love is keeping her healthy. Now who wants to come to dinner? ????#myneighbornorma… I mean #myroomatenorma ????

A photo posted by Chris Salvatore (@chrissalvatore) on

Chris said his life has “changed forever” because of Norma, adding “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,” Chris said.

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