A huge Rob Lowe fan got the surprise of a lifetime when the actor sent her a video message as she battles cancer from her hospice bed in Austin, Texas.
Alex Charpentier, 48, was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer 13 months ago, her best friend Chris Carter tells PEOPLE.
A single mother, nonsmoker and marathon runner, Charpentier’s “bucket list” was to meet Lowe and have him know she was his biggest supporter.
“When I met her, she had this whole thing for Rob Lowe,” Carter says. “At that point, it kind of made sense, it was a leftover teenage thing.”
As time went on, however, Charpentier’s feelings got deeper — Carter explains it was “less of a teen crush and more of everything he stood for.”
“It’s been a thing for more than three decades,” says Carter. “She’s one of my very best friends, so I set out to make it happen. I wrote an email from the heart about her and what she was fighting.”
And Lowe, 53, responded on Tuesday with a heartfelt video in which he encouraged Charpentier to stay strong and keep fighting.
“How’re you, Alex? Word has gotten back to me that you’ve been a longtime supporter of mine and I can’t tell you what that means to me,” he said.
“I’m sending prayers for you and thinking about you,” he continued. “You’re a fighter. I want to pat you on the back for that and hopefully give you some inspiration.”
He added, “And I’ve got more stuff I’m doing! You have to be around to see that. All my love. I’m thinking about you.”
Carter says she can’t believe Lowe responded and called him her “hero” for doing this for the mother of two.
“He really came through,” she says. “She texted me right after watching that. She said, ‘Amazing. I want it all. He’s awesome, you’re awesome. This is so perfect. I’m bawling.'”
Terminally Ill Fan Responds to Rob Lowe’s Video Message
Despite having been nauseous the day before seeing Lowe’s video, Carter says Charpentier “completely rallied” by sitting up in bed, turning the lights on and making a response video to Lowe.
“Well, Rob, I can’t tell you what it means to me, the impact that you’ve made on my life, albeit short,” Charpentier said. “I went from drooling over you as an adolescent teen to respecting you as an actor and as a parent and as a human being. Fighting against your own illness, fighting for your own marriage.”
Charpentier grew emotional as she thanked the West Wing star for reaching out to her.
“To know you took the time to call me… when my friends showed the video to my kids, they cried because they know how much this means to me,” she said.
“You are authentic, and I’m authentic,” she added. “I’m laying in my bed, and I have difficulty speaking and breathing, but I want you to know from my heart how much this means to me, and how this will stay in my family. Thank you so much, Rob. Peace.”
Carter tells PEOPLE she was amazed at her friend’s coherency, saying the actor’s video gave her strength to give one last message.
“Alex has been delirious ever since [she saw the video],” Carter says. “I think the miracle we wanted was for her to have a miraculous recovery. That’s not going to happen, but we got this. She was so happy last night. He helped create that for her.”