Writer/Model/Clown/Bon Vivant Hollie Stevens married comedian Eric Cash last week in a hospital conference room overlooking San Francisco. She and her medical team expect her to be discharged to the couple’s new apartment shortly, where Hollie will begin hospice care.
She is 30 and dying of cancer. Read more about Hollie after the break.
I met Hollie Stevens in 2005 in and around a group of people filming Ron Royster’s “Atomic Vixens: Escape from the Valley of the Sluts!” It was a ridiculous movie and a wild time, populated with characters outlandish even by porn standards. For the next several years I would see Hollie at her annual Las Vegas birthday parties that coincided with the AVN show, or at Jumbo’s Clown Room in L.A., or in San Francisco where she has lived since moving from Kansas City at the beginning of her adult career.
But in 2011 she started feeling sick. Laura Lasky, founder of sex worker support organization SolaceSF, sends this timeline:
In March of 2011, Hollie was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. After several rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, she had a mastectomy at 29 in August 2011. She has not been able to work since her surgery.
Shortly after, Hollie was told within a matter of weeks that the cancer had spread to her bone. Then, this year, to her rib and liver. She was informed the cancer was now at stage 4 shortly after she turned 30 in January of this year.
Hollie was taken to ER in San Francisco on Monday, June 4th and 7 hours later, was admitted and initially treated for severe dehydration due to the chemotherapy and 2 blood clots [one in her right upper arm and the other, in her jugular]. 4 days later, multiple tests confirmed what we feared: Hollie now has active cancer cells around and in her brain.
Lasky’s timeline originally stated that Hollie’s doctor gave Stevens “between three weeks and three months,” but this weekend Lasky said the doctors now thought three months was overly generous.
Stevens was grateful, if reluctant, for the fundraising efforts in her name. Friends raised about $15,000 for Hollie’s care.
The public can still be openly dubious about fundraisers for porn stars. When Asia Carrera’s husband died in a car crash, her polite appeal for financial help resulted in as much of a self-righteous backlash as it did donations.
Ditto efforts for Nicki Hunter’s cancer treatment and Nina Hartley’s recent surgery—people persist in the idea that porn performers are rich and are buoyed by oceans of cash, when the reality is that even good savers and investors are bound by the rule that most performers make less money in their last years of performing than they did in their first, and even first-year money wouldn’t take care of serious medical care in a business with no insurance and no residuals.
To the people unswayed by this argument, who still say “Then don’t do porn,” I’d suggest they stop consuming porn at the expense of maintaining relationships with real women.
Stevens was also wary of a sense of Donor Fatigue among porn fans.
“Hollie didn’t want to seem like an opportunist,” Lasky says.
The case of a former Digital Playground contract star weighs on the public’s mind. The performer, whose claim of Stage 4 liver cancer that had spread to her brain, netted her thousands of dollars in gifts before her story was refuted by an ex-boyfriend. The performer herself then said that the cancer was in full remission with the help of holistic remedies.
Hollie was never in it for the cash, which is why it was so cool when she married Cash.
Hollie has a wicked sense of humor that did not abandon her when she got sick. She gamely managed a sip of champagne at her wedding, and is compiling The World’s Filthiest Bucket List.
I asked her if she would haunt me.
“Only if you’re in San Francisco,” she says. “L.A. is too far to go.”
There aren’t too many career choices available for someone with so raucous a spirit as Hollie Stevens. Clown? Biker? Mercenary? Porn Performer? Pirate? I’m just grateful I met her in porn rather than in a Mexican jail. I am honored to know someone who lives so big, who’s the most boisterous person in the room, and who will undoubtedly slam the door off its hinges when she leaves.