05/05/2013 AT 2:00 PM ET
Hats off to Valerie Harper, who celebrated the Kentucky Derby weekend in high spirits (and style!).
Months after the Rhoda Morgenstern actress, 73, revealed to PEOPLE that she was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, she stepped out at the Barnstable Brown Gala, saying, “I’m feeling good.”
Attending the Louisville pre-derby party with husband Tony Cacciotti, she added to PEOPLE, “And I gained 7 lbs. – my doctors like that.”
Harper did, however, pass on one of the horse race’s staples: mint julep cocktails. She doesn’t drink, she said, and that’s a decision supported by her doctors.
Despite the diagnosis, Harper wanted to share her story, which received an outpouring of support from PEOPLE readers and fans around the world.
“We said we need to get this out there,” she said, “and we didn’t want the tabloids telling our story.”
Reporting by LEDATTA GRIMES