The road to the hereafter is not yet aligned for the Rhoda star, Valerie Harper, as she continues to smile and shine her way back into America’s heart. The stars in heaven that wait for her appearance are happy to give her more time. Her positive attitude has surely displaced the usual round up of cancer victims and has provided her family and fans with new hope and inspiration.
Valerie, age 74, gave it her all while starring in the new season of Dancing with the Stars. She could well have a good seat in the universe by now, but has outlived her “expiration date” by six months! Diagnosed with Leptomeningeal Carcinomatosis, a form of brain cancer that attacks the brain membranes, Valerie was given three months to live. She has achieved many awards for proving the doctors wrong and going on to live a full life and dance up a storm on TV.
Harper is best remembered for her role as Rhoda, Mary Tyler Moore’s neighbor and friend back in the 70’s. She went on to have her own show and many appearances in made for TV movies and short-lived sitcoms. Her best role, she says, has been a wife of twenty-six years to Tony Cacciotti and mother to grown daughter Cristina.
Valerie showed up in style on Dancing with the Stars’ first show of the season and looked radiant in a gorgeous blue gown as she danced the night away with Tristan MacManus a few weeks ago. Their display of dance moves across the floor had no one guessing about her strength, capability and candid view on her situation. She looked beautiful and healthy; full of grace and happiness. The song they danced to, Some Kind of Wonderful, seemed to be hand-picked for her. The crowd went wild and the judges, Carrie Ann, Len and Bruno gave a rave review of triple sevens. It can only be good luck and good fortune for the star as she rides the waves of applause and appreciation.
Valerie worked hard and went on to wow her fans as she gave it her all each week. She went above and beyond the wonder of most ladies her age and certainly anyone diagnosed with a terminal disease. She is a messenger of stamina and determination, and has not given up against all odds. Valerie has encouraged us to never give up, never stop moving, never to stop living and never to stop dancing!!
What a wonderful promise of hope she has demonstrated to simply live and enjoy life. She has provided a secret to living by not giving up and not settling for an end in sight. Valerie has not complained or asked why. She has attacked the cancer enemy by accepting her fate and doing her very best. One ending came as she was voted off the show with her low marks. Her humorous candor will remain, as she continues her journey outside of the show. Her sustaining spunk will surely earn her a few more encores in life, as the stars continue to dance and the heavens can wait a little longer!!
By: Roanne H. FitzGibbon