31-Year-Old Asks 89-Year-Old Neighbor To Move In To Help Care For Her - 'He's Like The Grandson I Never Had'

January 25, 2017

Best friends Chris Salvatore, 31, and Norma Cook, 89, are inseparable.

"She called me the grandson she never had," Chris Salvatore said of Norma Cook. And he considers her a grandmother.

"I love her, she's my best friend. I would do anything for her," Salvatore, an actor and singer, told PEOPLE. "I believe that human kindness is a magical thing and can heal what doctors can't."

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But recently Cook, who has leukemia, became gravely ill, and spent two months in the hospital battling pneumonia and breathing problems.

After doctors told her she only has months to live, Cook chose to spend what time she has left with Salvatore.

"I'm giving her a gift of passing on and being at peace and having a good time in her last few months."

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Salvatore met Cook, an interior decorator, when he moved into her apartment complex four years ago. Cook lived right across the hall and would wave to the actor-singer from her kitchen window as he left his apartment.

"One day I said, 'Can I come in and chat?' Because she just seemed so sweet," says Salvatore. "She offered me a glass of champagne, and it was like this immediate friendship.

The unlikely pair began hanging out every day — cooking, talking and playing with Cook's cat, Hermes.

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"I'm so lucky to have her. She's changed my life. she's made me a kinder more compassionate person. I feel honored to spend her last moments with her."

Salvatore hopes his incredible bond with Cook will encourage others to be open to meeting new and different people.

"I want others to be inspired to be more kind to strangers and neighbors you may see who may seem different than you," he explains. "Norma taught me that, and I want others to learn from her. Kindness heals and we're all on this planet together. When you light a lamp for someone else it brightens your own path."

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