Dana Reeve, who announced three months ago that she has lung cancer, said Thursday she is responding well to treatment and that her tumor is "shrinking and shrinking and shrinking."
Reeve, 44, won worldwide admiration for her support of her husband, "Superman" star Christopher Reeve, who was paralyzed in a horse-riding accident in 1996 and died last year. Dana Reeve's mother died shortly afterward. She announced her lung cancer diagnosis in August.
"I'm beating the odds and defying every statistic the doctors can throw at me," Reeve told the audience at a fundraiser for the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation on Thursday evening. "My prognosis looks better all the time."
Reeve was dressed for the gala in a long, flowered gown accessorized with several necklaces, including one -- a dog tag bearing the "Superman" symbol and the words "Go Forward" -- that the foundation is selling to raise money.
At the gala, the Christopher Reeve Spirit of Courage Award was awarded to husband and wife Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
"It's bittersweet," Douglas said in accepting the award. "We miss him so much."
Among those in attendance were Meryl Streep and Glenn Close. Robin Williams performed, and Paul Newman took the stage to urge people to write checks.
Newman, who had initially pledged $50,000, upped his contribution on the spot. "What the hell, make it $100,000," he said.
Dana Reeve succeeded her husband as chair of the foundation, which he founded. She hoped to raise $2 million at the gala, a foundation spokeswoman said.
Asked Thursday how she kept her spirits up, Reeve said she "had a great model. . . . I was married to a man who never gave up."