The actress, famed for playing sidekick Rhoda Morgenstern on the '70s TV classic The Mary Tyler Moore Show, appeared on Good Morning America Tuesday morning and said she remained upbeat despite doctors' estimates that she has three to six months left to live.
The beloved TV vet also bravely put the diagnosis she received into perspective.
"We're all terminal. We really are. And we have a lot of fear around death. And I thought that maybe we can help somebody," she said.
Harper told People last Wednesday that she had been diagnosed with leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, a rare and incurable form of cancer that occurs when cancer cells metastasize into the fluid-filled membrane surrounding the brain.
Since then, the thesp has discussed her fate with The Doctors, The Today Show and now GMA, but instead of giving in completely to her grief, she's using the time she has left to spread a positive message: that we must live every moment like it's our last.
"Tony [Cacciotti, her husband] and I decided we would do this because I want people to be less scared," added Harper. "I want them to know the new realm of cancer, that you can die with cancer but not of it."
The Rhoda star is currently undergoing chemotherapy but says she is still continuing to live as if she's got all the time in the world, even eyeing job opportunities.
"I'm living very normally thanks to some stabilizing [medication], two pills only, morning and night" she told GMA. "People have been offering me jobs. I think I can do them. I mean, right now, so far, if they were willing to take the chance."
Harper also thanked her many fans and former costars for all their support.
"I want to tell them how supportive and loving and exciting it is to feel this in the here and now, and that's it," she said. "This is the joy of this. If I was gone you'd be having memorials. This way we can share back and forth."
Valerie, you're in our thoughts and prayers.