Legendary TV actress Valerie Harper, who is battling brain cancer, opened up about her illness and her upcoming appearance on ABC’s "Dancing with the Stars." In an interview with People magazine, Harper said: "When life asks you to dance, you just have to dance."
People reports: "For the past two weeks, the actress has been enduring grueling four-hour-a-day dance rehearsals in anticipation of her Sept. 16 debut on ‘Dancing with The Stars.’"
Said Harper: "I feel much better. And my brain scans are looking better too. The doctors tell me there’s less evidence of cancer, which is very unusual. However, they both say it’s not a case of if, but when. And I can live with that."
The story adds: "Harper broke the news that she has leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, a rare, lethal form of cancer that strikes the membranes surrounding the brain, in People this past March. Her inspiring attitude of living each day to the fullest touched millions, so it’s hardly surprising that the former Broadway dancer signed on to appear on the hit ABC show, dancing beside Tristan MacManus."
Harper admits in the interview that her appearance carries with it a certain degree of fear, saying: "I’d been asked to do this before, but I always said no because I started dancing on Broadway at 17. It helped pay for my acting lessons. And I didn’t want to appear on the show and fumble because of my diagnosis."
The story adds: "But ever since June, her doctors have been ‘ecstatic’ with the results of her brain scans, which have begun showing increasingly ‘less evidence of cancer.’ Buoyed by the diagnosis and physically feeling better than she has in months, Harper hopes it ‘might prove inspiring to people to see a 74-year-old woman with terminal cancer dancing.’"