The family of Ken Hudson Campbell – best known for playing Santa in the 1990 holiday Christmas classic Home Alone – have asked fans for donations towards the sky-high cost of his potentially life-saving cancer treatment.
The 61-year-old actor, who also appeared in Armageddon and alongside Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, was diagnosed with cancer on 27 October when his doctors in the United States found a tumour near his mouth.
Campbell, who is also known for his work as an improvisational comedian, has recently undergone a survey procedure to remove the tumour.
“We need the world’s help to save Ken,” his daughter Michaela said on a GoFundMe page created on his behalf. “A tumor had elusively grown on the bottom of his mouth and it began encroaching on his teeth.”
“On December 7th, he is scheduled for a 10-hour surgery, during which a large part of his jawbone will be removed, along with his lymph nodes, and part of his leg bone,” she wrote. “Surgeons plan to reconstruct a new jaw for Ken from this leg bone, install it, and treat him with radiation. He will have a 6-month recovery period and chemo may be needed afterwards as well.”
Campbell’s family said he will likely stay in the hospital for a week, requiring a feeding tube, skin grafts and a tracheotomy – a procedure performed to encourage air and oxygen to reach the lungs by creating an opening into the windpipe from outside the neck.
The family say they hope to move Campbell into a facility later on as he’ll need physical and speech therapy.
Their GoFundMe account, which has already raised more than $85,000 at the time of writing, was created to help cover “huge” out-of-pocket medical expenses as he recovers.
The target for the GoFundMe page stands at £100,000 and has already received donations from more than 800 people.
“Ken Campbell is a family man. A loving father of two children with an admirable lust for life, and a passion for acting, writing, & sports,” the post said. “It is possible that this procedure will affect his ability to work as an actor in the future. We are asking for your help so that Kenny can use the time ahead to return to health, and spend more time with family & friends.”
“Every prayer, positive thought, dollar, or gesture of support means the world to our family,” it said.
Last week, Campbell shared his diagnosis and GoFundMe page on Instagram, writing: “Never thought I’d be posting this,” before thanking his family for their support and sharing the link to the donation page.
In a famous scene from the hit Christmas film Home Alone, Kevin McAllister (Macaulay Culkin), who was accidentally left behind when his family flew to Paris to celebrate Christmas, approaches Santa to ask for his Christmas wish.
Santa, played by Campbell, meets Kevin as he’s found a parking ticket on his car and is muttering under his breath to himself. Kevin tells Santa that his Christmas wish is that his mother, father, siblings, aunts and uncles – even his annoying cousins – return home in time for Christmas Day.
Campbell, realising he’s off the clock and has run out of candy canes to hand out, improvises and asks Kevin to hold out his “paw” and gives him three blue TicTacs.
On Campbell’s GoFundMe page, fans have been sending well-wishes and donations.
“You gotta help Santa at Christmas! My wife and kids have Home Alone on heavy rotation this time every year,” one fan wrote. “Thanks for helping us get through the holidays… now it’s our turn to help you. Hang in there!
Another, referencing one of Campbell’s line in the film, wrote: “‘Don’t spoil your dinner’... Every Christmas I watch Home Alone I look forward to this line the most. Fantastic job… Many thoughts and prayers.”
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