Selma Blair has not let her multiple sclerosis diagnosis take away her sense of humor. The actress was honored at the Race to Erase MS gala and fundraiser hosted by founder Nancy Davis at the Beverly Hilton on Friday night.
“I can’t read a teleprompter because I have double vision, so you’re stuck with unfiltered Selma,” she joked as as she took the stage.
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system and causes problems with vision, balance and muscle control. Blair had suffered from symptoms for years without realizing what they actually were, and finally announced her diagnosis in October of last year. She conducted her first interview since the diagnosis with Robin Roberts in February, showing the world what it was like to live with MS. In the middle of a flare-up during the candid chat, she experienced spasmodic dysphonia, a disorder that caused her voice to break every few sentences. Her voice stayed steady during her speech until she brought attention to it, but quickly laughed it off.
“See now that I brought it up — seriously that’s amazing. I’m actually auditioning for Katherine Hepburn’s part in ‘On Golden Pond,’” she said.
Blair’s longtime friend and “Cruel Intentions” co-star Sarah Michelle Gellar helped introduce her and joined her onstage along with Roberts and Blair’s son, Arthur.
“I’ve been friends with Selma for more than 20 years, so I thought I knew everything there is to know about her. Mostly because she has no filter. But in the last year I have seen a new side to her. Sure, she’s an incredible mother and friend, but now I know how brave she is. It would’ve been not only easy, but understandable, for Selma to hide when she received her diagnosis. Instead she’s done the exact opposite. She is facing this head on and sharing this journey with the world,” Gellar said. “And while it may not be pretty, it’s real and it’s selfless. I don’t think there is a stronger person I know.”
Not letting MS stop her from acting, Blair will appear in the upcoming Netflix drama, “Another Life,” later this year. Actress Katee Sackhoff also noted how her co-star’s sense of humor has inspired her and others on screen and off.
“Bringing people into her daily life and her struggles to be champion for MS and people living with disabilities is absolutely to be celebrated,” she told Variety. “If we can’t laugh at ourselves and have a little bit of self deprecation, life isn’t worth living. You’ve got to be able to laugh at yourself and have fun. I’ve seen the smile she puts on her face daily to inspire people and that is a beautiful thing.”
With Mother’s Day right around the corner, Blair ended her acceptance speech with a humorous tribute to her son.
“My dream is that I get to be a useful mom as long as this kid wants me, which is about one more year,” she said.
The celebratory fundraiser included a silent auction, fashion show, dance performance and mini concerts by Aloe Blacc and Flo Rida. Davis also honored the Hausman Family Foundation and Richard Hausman, who has lived with MS for 50 years. Celebrities Kris Jenner, Johnny Galecki, Avril Lavigne, LaToya Jackson, Rumer Willis, Vanna White, Constance Zimmer, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Peta Murgatroyd and Tommy Chong also attended.