Valerie Harper Defies the Odds of Terminal Brain Cancer and Shimmies Her Way Back Onto T.V.

Remember in Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion when Romy and Michelle were arguing about who got to be “the Mary” and who was left to be “the Rhoda?” Well, I think it’s time we all took a stand for the Rhodas. Don’t get me wrong, Mary is, and always has been, one of the original American sweethearts. But Valerie Harper, 73, who played Rhoda Morgenstern on The Mary Tyler Moore Show for seven years (and continued to play her in the Rhoda spinoff for another four), is about give all the Rhodas in the world a very brave name.

Earlier this year, Valerie was diagnosed with a rare and incurable form of brain cancer — a type that accounts for less than two percent of all cancers. (Harper, a non-smoker, also endured and subsequently beat lung cancer in 2009.) Doctors told her that it could prove fatal in as little as three months, and Harper began the journey of looking back at her life and saying her goodbyes. That was in January. Flash forward seven months later, and the iconic t.v. star is gearing up for her next big adventure as a contestant on the 17th season of Dancing With the Stars.

Speaking to People after sharing her condition with the public back in March, Harper had this to say about cancer:

Now she’s the one telling cancer, “Hey, not so fast,” as she prepares to two-step, tango and foxtrot on t.v. alongside her super-hunky Irish pro, 31-year-old Tristan MacManus. Yesterday, the actress’ neuro-oncologist revealed that her cancer is “pretty close to remission” which “defies the odds” and means that she’s got some time on her side.

She’s also got all the Rhodas in the world on her side. And that’s a gift every Mary wish she had.

Featured image via People