NEW YORK – Dana Reeve, who announced three months ago that she has lung cancer, said Thursday she is responding well to treatment and that her tumor is "shrinking and shrinking and shrinking."
Reeve, 44, won worldwide admiration for the support of her husband, "Superman" star Christopher Reeve, who was paralyzed in a horse-riding accident in 1996 and died last year. Dana Reeve's mother died shortly afterward. She announced her lung cancer diagnosis in August.
"What a year it's been," she said at a news conference before a fund-raiser for The Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation. "A difficult year for our family."
Nevertheless, the couple's teenage son, Bill, is "doing great," she said. "This boy has had a lot of lessons that I'd rather he had not learned so early in life."
She was dressed for the gala in a long, flowered gown accessorized with several necklaces, including one with a tag bearing the "Superman" symbol and the words "Go Forward." She appeared upbeat about her health and Thursday night's fund-raiser.
"I'm feeling great, surprisingly," she said. "I am responding well to treatment."
Among those expected at the event were Paul Newman, Meryl Streep and Glenn Close. The Christopher Reeve Spirit of Courage Award was to be awarded to Michael Douglas and his wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones. Robin Williams was to perform.
"She's better than Superwoman. She's Wonder Woman," Zeta-Jones said of Reeve before the event. "Dana is like a saint to me."
Douglas said Christopher Reeve "to us was the epitome of trying to make the world better."
Dana Reeve succeeded her husband as chair of the foundation, which he founded. She hoped to raise $2 million at the gala, a foundation spokeswoman said.
Asked Thursday how she kept her spirits up, Reeve said she "had a great model... I was married to a man who never gave up."