A 71-year-old grandmother who found viral stardom on social media is hoping to use her fame to raise money for a heartbreaking cause: paying for her hospice care.
“It’s been an amazing journey watching our mom go from the center of her three children and four grandchildren’s lives to being TikTok famous sharing her journey, silliness, positive energy, and desire for TikTok fame,” Roper’s daughter, Crystal Bleu Dvorak, said of her mother in an update on the family’s GoFundMe page.
“Many of her fans have stated she has provided them light in a world that is often filled with darkness,” she added of her mother, who has over a million followers on TikTok.
Roper grew in popularity on the platform largely due to her sparkling personality and her love of crocheting. But she also shared videos about her battle with lung cancer, a disease that has slowly taken away her strength to do the things she loves.
When she was initially diagnosed with the disease in October 2018, Roper was only given a few months live.
“We were told there was no surgery and treatment wasn’t a viable option for her,” Dvorak said.
While Roper was placed in hospice care soon after, her health remained stable for many more months, allowing her more time with her family.
But scans in February showed her tumors were rapidly progressing, and Roper soon suffered a loss of appetite and diminished control of her bodily functions.
Heartbreakingly, the family recognized these were signs Roper’s time would soon be coming to an end.
“I am being very strong for mom not breaking down in front of her,” Dvorak explained. “Her seeing me in pain will only cause her unneeded pain. But know that my heart is breaking.”
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One of Roper’s dying wishes is to spend the time she has left in the comfort of her own home.
The family is aiming to raise money through GoFundMe to help with the costs of hiring additional nurses to help fulfill that wish.
As of Friday afternoon, they have raised more than $13,000 from more than 750 donors.
“Knowing that we’ll be able to take care of her needs without putting my stepfather in the poor house will be a huge relief to my mom,” Dvorak wrote on the page.
“We love all her fans,” she continued, “and I can’t thank you enough for being something positive for my mom in her last time on earth.”