'The grandson she never had': Norma, 89, moves in with Hollywood actor and neighbour Chris, 31
It’s often easy to complain about neighbours but every so often you live right next to a friendly one, or even a legendary one. Chris Salvatore, 31, certainly fits into the latter category.
A year ago the Hollywood actor helped his elderly neighbour Norma Cook, who has leukaemia, by funding her care to allow her to live at home – and now he’s let her move in with him.
The pair met five years ago in California, living across the hall from each other in their apartment complex. Chris said he warmed to Norma calling her “friendly”, “sassy” and “full of life”, but last year she was taken into hospital battling pneumonia, breathing problems and her cancer.
After months in hospital Norma was told she couldn’t return home without 24-hour healthcare, and with barely enough money to cover her rent let alone health costs she faced being moved to a nursing home – a prospect she wept over, saying she would be “left to die”.
Norma has no children and no close family nearby, but Chris was on hand to help, setting up a Go Fund Me page to raise money for her healthcare and living costs.
Incredibly, the page raised over $50,000 (£40,000) in two months, with donations coming from fans of Chris’ acting work, friends, and even strangers touched by the story.
A year on, the money Chris raised has dwindled, but that hasn’t stopped him helping Norma. To cut costs he’s invited her to become his flatmate and now, along with her beloved cat Hermes, she lives in Chris’ apartment.
“She couldn’t be happier that I asked – I was over there visiting most days anyway,” Chris told the Today Show. “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.
“She’s doing great, if you could see her right now, she looks so cute on the couch with her feet propped up. She just hangs out on my couch and watches TV.”
Chris has acted in films such as the Eating Out series of films and 2015′s Paternity Leave but at home with Cook they enjoy the simpler things in life.
“He cooks for me,” said Norma, who has called Chris “the grandson she never had”.
“If he can’t make it as an actor, he can make it as a chef. We mostly talk and drink champagne and eat peanuts.”
If there’s a more interesting pair of flatmates living a richer life than these two – we’ve yet to find it.