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How Debbie Reynolds And Eddie Fisher Helped Save Cindy’s Life

Over a little six-year-old girl’s bed hangs an autographed picture of Eddie Fisher. On it is written, To Cindy—you are my real one. The little girl can’t get out of that bed; in the next few years she faces a long series of plastic surgery operations.

For a breath-holding week or so it was touch-and-go whether she would hold on to life or not.

During those first dangerous days, it was Eddie Fisher’s recording of Cindy that helped the real-life Cindy Acker in her desperate fight for life. Cindy had received third degree burns over more than half of her body when she fell against a pot of fat in which her mother was making doughnuts.

And that first day, after she was rushed to the hospital, Cindy had whispered a request to hear her favorite song; it was played continuously—on doctor’s orders. Eddie and Debbie heard about it, and that’s when Eddie sent off the autographed picture that hangs over the little girl’s bed.

Eddie and Debbie realized that their schedule simply wouldn’t permit a visit to Cindy. But they did more than send the picture. Eddie phoned Cindy for a long chat. Then he sent her a personal recording of her namesake song, a big doll and television set—so she could watch the how on which Eddie dedicated Cindy to her.

And they didn’t let it go at that. On Cindy’s sixth birthday, in the hospital, lame surprises. First there was a telegram HAPPY BIRTHDAY AND A BIG HUG—FROM DEBBIE AND EDDIE. Then arrived the huge yellow Mama bunny, with four little bunnies—which Debbie had made herself.

Doctors have marveled at the fighting spirit that helped Cindy hold on to life. The burns were so painful that whenever her dressings were changed she had to be anaesthetized. She has already had six skin grafts to her face, arms, head and neck—plus fifteen pints of blood and plasma. Her lung collapsed and an emergency operation was performed. She was fed intravenously, and she breathed through an opening doctors made in her throat. That’s only part of what happened to Cindy Acker—and what lies ahead.

But Cindy will never forget her sixth birthday—a joyous one because of Eddie Fisher and his Mrs. And it’s very possible that it was a song that helped her keep on living. Because when she listens to Cindy, Oh Cindy, the real-life Cindy knows that Eddie is singing just to her.

That’s when she summons a grin under the bandages and whispers, “He’s my boy friend.” She has the delightful memory of the long telephone chat with Eddie and the wire from Eddie and Debbie that lies by her bedside; and around her are the doll, the bunny, the picture that says, To Cindy—you are my real one and the cream colored portable television set.

As for Eddie, he managed what many celebrities have found it hard to do. This is one event in his life that didn’t make the gossip columns. It was kept so quiet, in fact, that the columnists didn’t even latch on to the story.

And, incidentally, anyone who wants to join Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds and encourage a brave little girl can do so just by sending a message to “Cindy” at Oak Knoll Hospital, Oakland, California.



Debbie’s currently in U-I’s TAMMY AND THE BACHELOR.



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