Mel Gibson's movie The Passion Of The Christ has given former televangelist Tammy Faye Messner a boost as she battles cancer.

Messner was initially diagnosed with colon cancer, but the disease since spread to her lungs and has wrapped itself around one of her vocal chords.

And the bubbly TV personality, who is currently undergoing a tough course of chemotherapy, admits Gibson's controversial movie about the last 12 hours of Jesus Christ was a welcomed arrival.

She says, "God bless you Mel! I think what this movie did is made Jesus a real person to people."

Messner's also received more direct support from her comedienne pal Roseanne Barr.

She continues, "I was saying to her, 'Oh Roseanne, it's gonna be okay,' and she says, 'Tammy, you be quiet. I called to comfort you.'"

And Messner insists she's determined not to let the disease get the better of her, adding, "I'm a tough old broad. I've learned to rise above things. The people in Hollywood have really been there for me.

"I think I have nothing to complain about. All I have is cancer. If I live, I have a chance to enjoy a few more years on this wonderful, wonderful earth of ours.

"The doctors think that I will have a good recovery. I don't wanna die and I feel like I've got so much more to give."

18/05/2004 00:05