Dana Reeve Makes Progress in Cancer Battle

Dana Reeve Makes Progress in Cancer Battle
Susan Sarandon and Dana Reeve
AUBREY REUBEN/LFI

09/29/2005 AT 08:00 AM EDT

There is promising news concerning Dana Reeve, PEOPLE reports in its new issue.

Reeve, diagnosed with lung cancer in August, just 10 months after husband Christopher Reeve's death, is "doing great," according to a pal.

On Sept. 21, at an intimate cocktail party for the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation in Manhattan, Dana's close friend and CRPF board member Peter Kiernan announced, "She's absolutely, positively going to be with us for A Magical Evening." That's CRPF's Nov. 17 black-tie benefit, where Dana has vowed to make her first public appearance since starting treatment this summer.

Though Reeve's initial prognosis was grim, Kiernan revealed in a more private moment that her doctors now say her "numbers look good" and "everything that's supposed to be shrinking is shrinking."

Reeve pal Susan Sarandon, who calls Dana frequently, also says, "She sounds really good. She's in a great frame of mind." Noting that Dana often seems more upbeat at the beginning of each week, Sarandon also said, "She's staying strong for (their 13-year-old son) Will. He's been through so much in such a short period of time."

There's even a strong likelihood that Dana will make good on her vow to present the Spirit of Courage award personally to Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones at the Nov. 17 CRPF gala.

As Kiernan puts it, "She's in a hell of a fight. But if she could stand by Chris for 10 years, she can certainly deal with cancer. I know she'll be there – and she'll look spectacular."

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