Facts of LIfe star Charlotte Rae has been diagnosed with cancer for the second time in her life, and is staying positive.


Doctors discovered bone cancer in Rae, and seven years ago, they discovered pancreatic cancer, which she beat after six months treatment. The news of her new diagnosis broke April 28.

“I feel so incredibly grateful that I’m still alive,” the actress told People. “I’m still above ground at 91! I’ve had such an incredible life. Ups and downs, fabulous stuff. Unhappy stuff, but lots of wonderful stuff. I’ve had a full, rich life. And I’m still here.”

Initially, Rae canceled her first chemotherapy appointment, instead wishing to just live her life. But now she has decided to fight. “My doctor said, ‘You’re so active, why don’t we do a low chemo, spread it out so that the side effects won’t be too bad and maybe it’ll help stop it from spreading,’” Rae shared. “I’m going to ask [my doctor] all sorts of questions, like how much can I exercise? Because I want to keep moving. I’m going to take it one day at a time. That’s all we got anyway!”

The actress, who turned 91 on April 22, has decided to undergo chemo treatments, unlike many cancer patients in their 90s. Her first session was May 8. Rae also revealed she has a strong support group, which includes many of her former Facts of Life castmates.

“I didn’t say anything to the girls when they called on my birthday because I didn’t know what the results of my exams were going to be,” she explained. “But then I told them. We’re all sticking together. They’re all beautiful women and beautiful mothers. We’re all hanging in there.”

Worried fans have reached out to Rae to offer their hope for her recovery. To them, she says: Tell them I feel so grateful that I lived this long and that I lived this incredible life. Tell them that every day from now on is a birthday and I’m going to savor it to the max. Really enjoy it, be good to myself and try to be of service to other people. I can’t worry in advance about anything. I just have to celebrate being alive. Being part of the universe. I’m so full of love for myself and others. I’m filled with joy.”

Despite her diagnosis and her age, Rae is still very active. She acted in a play just a year ago and she wrote a memoir entitled The Facts of My Life. In the book, she writes about her battle with alcoholism and raising a son with autism and mental disabilities, as well as learning that he husband John Strauss was bisexual. Rae has been sober for 42 years.

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