Dana Reeve's Final Days

ByABC News via via logo

March, 8, 2006 — -- Six weeks ago, Dana Reeve looked happy and healthy as she belted out Carole King's "Now and Forever" at New York City's Madison Square Garden during a ceremony honoring her friend, hockey legend Mark Messier.

After that performance, Reeve, who was diagnosed with lung cancer in August, learned the cancer had taken an aggressive turn.

Michael Manganiello, a close friend and Christopher Reeve Foundation vice president, was with Reeve when the doctors walked in with the news.

"Dana and I just kind of knew," Manganiello said. "They [the doctors] said the tumor had gone in a different direction and things started to spiral out of control."

Manganiello said Reeve fought to the end -- trying visualization and extremely healthy eating -- but the cancer was too aggressive.

"She very much became Chris in a way," Manganiello said. "Chris fought right to the last moment hoping there would be a cure, and Dana was the same way. Dana, right until the end, said there's going to be one more thing."

Manganiello said the one thing Reeve made sure of was that her son, Will, 13, would be surrounded by people who loved him.

"I think Dana's only wish for Will, I think it was the things she taught and Chris taught Will all along -- that he be a responsible human being who realized that with privilege and with the things that he had in this world, that you had to give back," Manganiello said.

"He's already doing that. He's already giving back. He will continue, and I think we're going to look back and see great things."

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