Welcome to Hero of the Week, where each week we celebrate the most extraordinary stories of heroism from all over the world. From putting another life before their own to making someone else’s dreams come true, these are ordinary people who are making the world a better place.

Although a quiet Hollywood presence in the last few years, Selma Blair nonetheless made an epic comeback this Oscars weekend. But not for winning a long-coveted award or for delivering a moving speech, but rather for the sheer courage of walking down the red carpet. With a cane, sometimes tearful, struggling, but with her head held high, while in the thick of an MS flareup.

This was the Cruel Intentions star’s first red carpet appearance since revealing she has multiple sclerosis (MS), a chronic neurological disorder that affects around 1 million Americans. It’s characterized by loss of balance, vision and muscle control, severe pain, chronic fatigue, weakness, numbness among many other symptoms. There is no cure.

For most patients symptoms ebb and flow over time. During a flareup, called an exacerbation, a patient’s existing symptoms become more severe and new ones appear. For Blair, her current exacerbation brought a worsening of her chronic pain, difficulty controlling her movements, weakness, fatigue and new ones like spasmodic dysphonia, a neurological disorder that interferes with voice muscle control, making speech difficult.

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There are moments that define us. This is one of those indelibly watermarked in my heart. This is #troynankin ; my former publicist turned manager , best friend , and fake husband. We joke. I have become a different woman in the last few years, through struggles and the intense pride of motherhood. @vanityfair has always been a champion of mine, like Troy. And yet, I have not fully realized my capabilities as an actress. I wanted to be at this red carpet to remember my first time attending with a not yet famous friend, @jakegyllenhaal . I believed in him and his career and wanted him there. And this dinner always symbolizes so much. And I kept going because it was always a night in hollywood that was full of hollywood dreams with all the talent present in their glory. I loved to watch. I was invited this year. I am featured in March issue . Thank you @radhikajones @kristasmith @samiranasr #juliemiller @cassblackbird . So this was a streak of light. To say I am here. I am still in an exacerbation so there was some nervousness. I don’t do anything the way I was once able. I will though. I can regain much. Mommas gotta work. And I will be able to do so much more on my own, But this man. Until that comes …This man and a host of others light the way and hold the moon @thetexastroya was a hero. Wanting me to shine brightly in a time that can be so challenging. He knew I wanted to be able to stand proudly as the woman I have become and hope to be. To be a part of something so special when my body won’t move clearly yet. And then I felt the love from the photographers who have watched me goof around on red carpets since I was in my twenties. I felt the warmth of the bulbs. The strength of my gown. His attentive touch. And still I hoped my brain could send signals for the remainder of my time there. And I sobbed. And I appreciated every single second. Every surprising tear, he was there. As he has always been. And that is the reason I could. Thank you Troy. We got me just where I wanted to be. For a night. And I later pushed my way into a family photo with @dianaross (omg) . So much to post but not before this one. True love. Right here. Forever.

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In an Instagram post full of raw emotion Blair revealed how frightening it was to face such a public event, not knowing if she was going to be able to walk down the red carpet, let alone make it through the night without losing control over her body. But it’s not just the physical aspect that was and is scary. It’s about showing so much vulnerability.

But as discussed in a recent Good Morning America interview and Vanity Fair shoot, she realized how important it was to use her platform not only to bring awareness to the disease itself, but also what exactly it looks like. That it means she falls down often, that she cannot dress by herself. And right now even the simple act of speaking is beyond difficult.

And as a result of her courage, her platform has exploded overnight. The honesty of her struggle, her strength to find the good moments, the belief that there will come better, easier times and the ability to joke about what her day-to-day life is right now resulted in an outpouring of love, support and respect.

People from all walks of life have taken over her Instagram feed thanking her for arguing for more clothing choices for people with disabilities, for speaking so loudly for those who suffer and their right to care, happiness and employment. For bravely using a cane, an essential tool for many, but which so often elicits pity and disgusts from those blessed with health.

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I was in this wardrobe fitting two days ago. And I am in the deepest gratitude. So profound, it is, I have decided to share. The brilliant costumer #Allisaswanson not only designs the pieces #harperglass will wear on this new #Netflix show , but she carefully gets my legs in my pants, pulls my tops over my head, buttons my coats and offers her shoulder to steady myself. I have #multiplesclerosis . I am in an exacerbation. By the grace of the lord, and will power and the understanding producers at Netflix , I have a job. A wonderful job. I am disabled. I fall sometimes. I drop things. My memory is foggy. And my left side is asking for directions from a broken gps. But we are doing it . And I laugh and I don’t know exactly what I will do precisely but I will do my best. Since my diagnosis at ten thirty pm on The night of August 16, I have had love and support from my friends , especially @jaime_king @sarahmgellar @realfreddieprinze @tarasubkoff . My producers #noreenhalpern who assured me that everyone has something. #chrisregina #aaronmartin and every crew member… thank you. I am in the thick of it but I hope to give some hope to others. And even to myself. You can’t get help unless you ask. It can be overwhelming in the beginning. You want to sleep. You always want to sleep. So I don’t have answers. You see, I want to sleep. But I am a forthcoming person and I want my life to be full somehow. I want to play with my son again. I want to walk down the street and ride my horse. I have MS and I am ok. But if you see me , dropping crap all over the street, feel free to help me pick it up. It takes a whole day for me alone. Thank you and may we all know good days amongst the challenges. And the biggest thanks to @elizberkley who forced me to see her brother #drjasonberkley who gave me this diagnosis after finding lesions on that mri. I have had symptoms for years but was never taken seriously until I fell down in front of him trying to sort out what I thought was a pinched nerve. I have probably had this incurable disease for 15 years at least. And I am relieved to at least know. And share. 🖤 my instagram family… you know who you are.

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Since quietly revealing her diagnosis in October, in an Instagram post detailing her gratitude for friends and colleagues helping her through her disease and its current exacerbation, Blair has used the social media platform to document what MS means to her life. From the physical symptoms to the psychological ones, the Another Life star is disarmingly honest about it all.

But also about the peace the diagnosis — received just last August — brought to her life. Because finally there is a name to why she’s been suffering. Finally, doctors don’t dismiss it as “just” stress or an actress’ drama. And also her faith and her belief in her own strength that while MS has irrevocably changed her life, it does not define her or her quest to be a caring mother, a good friend, a reliable worker, and why not, a funny entertainer.


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