Valerie Harper, you may have been eliminated from ‘Dancing with the Stars’ on Oct. 7, but the courage and resilience you’ve shown in the face of your near-fatal battle with brain cancer makes you a true champion in our book!
Valerie Harper, you danced your heart out on Dancing with the Stars, and you and partner Tristan MacManus couldn’t have picked a more fitting swan song. You said “Carry On” by Fun is the musical equivalent of your motto in life and it totally shows! You are a true inspiration not only to people with cancer, but to all people.
Valerie Harper’s Brain Cancer — She’s An Inspiration, Even After ‘DWTS’
Valerie, right from the beginning, you approached your illness with unrelenting optimism and humor. Even when doctors gave you three months to live, you said, “I don’t think of dying. I think of being here now,” joking that you’re “well past my expiration date already.”
Your attitude and determination to survive your battle with leptomenigeal carcinomatois — a rare, terminal cancer — has clearly served you well. And when you went into remission, you leaped right out of your comfort zone and embraced life in the most amazing way — by joining the cast of Dancing with the Stars at 74 years old!
You went on the show to prove to yourself that you could rise to the challenge, and you exceeded your own expectations by making it to week four. Good for you!
Valerie Harper: It’s Great To See You ‘Carrying On’
Valerie, your decision to compete on DWTS was more about others than it is about yourself. You said you hoped it would help those who are suffering stay strong and keep fighting.
“Maybe, if people are inspired, they’ll take a walk,” you told Meredith Vieira in the special “Valerie’s Story” on Sept. 19. “I don’t mean get on Dancing With the Stars, but maybe they’ll just get off the couch or maybe they’ll enjoy the garden instead of crying or being so depressed about losing their life in such a mean way.”
“You’ve just got to keep going,” you added. “No matter what is in your life, you just press through. As the British say, ‘Carry on’… As long as I feel this good, why sit and watch dancing when I could be up there dancing?”
And dance you did! Even though you were eliminated, you took the loss like a true winner, saying, “It has been absolutely wonderful, unique like nothing else in the world…People, and not only people with cancer but people everywhere, it’s like our song tonight, you just gotta keep on keeping on.”
Valerie, your inspiring message has touched the world — from cancer survivors, to anyone facing a challenge, to your partner, Tristan, who said, “I’m a better person for having known Valerie.” I think that goes for all of us.
HollywoodLifers, have you been inspired by Valerie, too? Let me know!
— Tierney McAfee