Selma Blair's MS Battle
- Selma Blair, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 2018, recently visited the White House to advocate for the disabled community and celebrate anniversaries of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act.
- The ADA, a historic civil rights law that protects the rights of people with disabilities that has been in affect for 33 years, was signed into law on July 26, 1990. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the first civil rights law protecting disabled people from discrimination, recently celebrated its 50th anniversary of it’s passage on September 26.
- Selma Blair was diagnosed with MS in October 2018, following years of dealing with unexplained symptoms like falling, dropping things, and issues with her memory.
- Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease in which the immune system eats away at the protective covering of the body’s nerves. Currently, there is no cure for MS, although some people treat the disease using chemotherapy, medications, or steroid drugs.
- Many people fighting MS experience muscle weakness and difficulty with coordination and balance, so it’s absolutely incredible and encouraging that she taking the time out to visit the White House and stand before others to raise awareness and advocate for the disabled community.
The ADA, a historic civil rights law that protects the rights of people with disabilities that has been in affect for 33 years, was signed into law on July 26, 1990. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the first civil rights law protecting disabled people from discrimination, recently celebrated its 50th anniversary of it’s passage on September 26.Read More
She continued, “What Judy Heumann [a disability rights leader], along with friends and colleagues within the disabled community did to ensure those needs were heard and met is miraculous. She passed this year, and it is with some heartbreak, grace and great determination, that those left behind proudly pick up her mantle. I would not have found this platform if not for the work that those before me had done. And keep doing. And it takes more than one group. We need allies and creative thinkers in all of our communities to recognize the disparity and help build a more equitable future for all of us.
“This day has been a North Star, a day to see and hug the people I cherish and admire. Those who welcomed me and teach me so I can help in return.”
Blair was also photographed standing confidently with her cane and her dog Scout in front of the White House.
Other images she shared from the uplifting event showed Blair to be saying a speech, posing with fellow members of the disabled community, smiling alongside the President, and a photo of her written speech.
“As I stood with @potus on the same spot where the ADA was signed on July 26, 1990, I look out at the distinguished guests in the audience and felt pride,” her captioned continued. “On a scorching hot DC day, we celebrated each other and the strength that comes from our diversity. The Rehabilitation Act and the ADA were not the destination, rather celebrated steps along the way leading us to each other.
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Blair’s speech begins with the actress introducing her self as “a proud disabled woman with my cane and my service dog Scout by my side.”
After announcing the reason behind her White House visit (to celebrate the ADA and Rehabilitation Act), she told her audience, “Although I’d had symptoms since the age of 7, it took a lifetime of self-advocacy to finally lead me to a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis at the age of 46.
“After living most of my life with pain and self-doubt, it was the late Judy Huemann, without whom we would not be here today, who taught me my worth. Looking out to all of you, seeing so many of the people she mentored and befriended, I see the beauty in how she prepared the next generation of community leaders i stand proudly alongside today.”
“In my own disability advocacy, I have realized that these historic pieces of legislation were vital steps towards fairness — but the push towards equity continues,” she added.
Although only one page of her speech is seen in the photo, it’s evident how much Blair cares about the disabled community.
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In a followup post, featuring Blair speaking in the video and clips from her White House visit, she wrote, “On the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act anniversaries, we honor progress, hard fought and won, by disability advocates.
“These laws make our country more accessible, more equitable, and more just, but there’s more work to do. The Biden-Harris Administration will protect the rights of this community, and ensure that the American Dream is for all, not just for some.
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Blair insists she now knows “the real important of justice, fairness” after being a part of both the disabled and non disabled communities.
“It is so important, obviously, for our community, for our futures, for our caregivers, for everyone to realize that there is such inequity and that we do not have exposure to really what the disabled community goes through,” Blair says in the footage.
“And, so, anytime that I can learn from others and hear and to acknowledge and get behind, hopefully new initiatives that will strengthen the ADA is a, ‘Yes, please,’ for me.”
We admire Blair’s efforts to stand up for something she’s passionate about, especially for others with disabilities, like herself.
In fact, Blair said in an earlier interview, “You have to be a squeaky wheel to get what you want. There aren’t a lot of allies in the disabled community that are lucky enough to be on the platform that I have to bring things out.
“I’ve really changed a lot of my own perceptions of disability and now realize what heroes so many people in the disabled community are.”
Selma Blair’s MS Fight & Treatment
Selma Blair was diagnosed with MS in October 2018, following years of dealing with unexplained symptoms like falling, dropping things, and issues with her memory.
Instead of keeping her day-to-day challenges private, Blair has since become a strong voice in the health community, particularly in raising awareness about mental health challenges.
Blair underwent chemotherapy for treatment and shared her hair loss journey with fans through social media.
However, because of her illness, she still suffers from regular chronic pain, which caused her to struggle with activities she used to love. Despite her troubles, she still managed to compete in the most recent season of “Dancing With the Stars.”
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease in which the immune system eats away at the protective covering of the body’s nerves.
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke explains this disease as: “An unpredictable disease of the central nervous system, [MS] can range from relatively benign to somewhat disabling to devastating, as communication between the brain and other parts of the body is disrupted.” Investigators of the disease believe it to be an autoimmune disease.
Many people fighting MS experience muscle weakness and difficulty with coordination and balance, so it’s absolutely incredible and encouraging that she taking the time out to visit the White House and stand before others to raise awareness and advocate for the disabled community.
Currently, there is no cure for MS, although some people treat the disease using chemotherapy, medications, or steroid drugs.
Leading Experts Urge Us to Be Proactive
“If I had any advice for you following a cancer diagnosis, it would be, first, to seek out multiple opinions as to the best care,” National Cancer Institute Chief of Surgery Steven Rosenberg told SurvivorNet in an earlier interview, “because finding a doctor who is up to the latest of information is important.”
As we highlight in several areas of SurvivorNet, highly respected doctors sometimes disagree on the right course of treatment, and advances in genetics and immunotherapy are creating new options.
Also, in some instances, the specific course of treatment is not clear-cut. That’s even more reason why understanding the potential approaches to your disease is crucial.
At the National Cancer Institute, there is a patient referral service that will “guide patients to the right group depending on their disease state so that they can gain access to these new experimental treatments,” Rosenberg says.
Furthermore, seeking additional opinions may also help you avoid doctor biases. For instance, some surgeons own radiation treatment centers.
“So there may be a conflict of interest if you present to a surgeon that is recommending radiation because there is some ownership of that type of facility,” Dr. Jim Hu, director of robotic surgery at Weill Cornell Medical Center, previously told SurvivorNet.
Other reasons to get a second opinion include:
- To see a doctor who has more experience treating your type of cancer or disease
- You have a rare type of cancer or disease
- There are several ways to treat your cancer or disease
- You feel like your doctor isn;t listening to you, or isn’t giving you good advice
- You have trouble understanding your doctor
- You don’t like the treatment your doctor is recommending, or you’re worried about its possible side effects
- Your insurance company wants you to get another medical opinion
- Your cancer isn’t improving on your current treatment
What it comes down to is that being proactive about your health could be a matter of life or death. Obtain as much information as you can from as many experts as you can connect with, so that you know that you did your best to take control of your health.
Contributing: SurvivorNet Staff