Danielle Spencer, an actress best known for her role as spunky younger sister, Dee Thomas, on the hit 1970s sitcom What’s Happening!!, has revealed she’s battling breast cancer.
The former child star, 49, disclosed her diagnosis in a recent interview and expressed she was “completely shocked” when doctors told her the news.
“Surgery is definitely one of the options,” she said of her treatment going forward. “Hopefully after that there won’t be any chemotherapy or radiation.”
This is unfortunately not the first health obstacle Danielle has faced.
She suffered a spinal cord injury and near-paralysis from a 1977 car accident that killed her stepfather, actor Tim Pelt. Following the crash, she was treated for spinal stenosis at the same rehabilitation center as Superman star Christopher Reeve.
“I have a lot of help and support around me,” she told Black America Web of her friends and family remaining a constant source of strength.
Danielle rose to fame on the ABC sitcom, which ran from 1976 — 1979. She later reprised her role in What’s Happening Now!!, a 1985 revival which focused on the show’s main characters as adults.
After leaving Hollywood, she attended Alabama’s Tuskegee University and is now working as a veterinarian in California.