The actress was left feeling inspired after reading a new book by stroke survivor Katherine Wolf.

By Megan Falk
February 14, 2020
Craig Barritt/Getty

Since she announced her multiple sclerosis (MS) diagnosis via Instagram in October 2018, Selma Blair has been candid about her experience with the chronic disease, from feeling “sick as hell” and enduring long-lasting muscle spasms in her neck and face, to losing her eyelashes.

In case you're not familiar, MS is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system incorrectly attacks healthy tissue in the central nervous system.

Between the unpredictable symptoms of the disease and the painful side effects of treatments, Blair admits that, at times, she's struggled to stay optimistic. “Since chemotherapy and high doses of prednisone, I have lost any ability to focus with my eyes,” Blair wrote in an Instagram post last August. “Panic sets in. Will this be permanent? How do I get to one more doctor appointment? How will I work and write when I can’t see and it’s so painful?”

So how does the Legally Blonde actress keep her head held high? She burns a comforting candle from her always-expanding collection, soaks in a tub with CBD-formulated bath salts recommended by none other than Busy Philipps, and more recently, finds inner-strength by reading the story of Katherine and Jay Wolf.

On Thursday, Blair took to Instagram to give praise to the couple’s newly released book Suffer Strong (Buy It, $19, barnesandnoble.com). The non-fiction read details the universal lessons the couple has learned about suffering, hope, and the impact of shifting your mindset in the nearly 12 years following Katherine’s massive brain stem stroke—a near-fatal incident that left her with limited mobility and partial paralysis in her face. (Related: The Stroke Risk Factors All Women Should Know)

“I needed this. Yesterday, my most admired friend on Instagram had her book launch for #sufferstrongbook,” Blair captioned her post. “Katherine and Jay Wolf wrote a truly powerful, profound and different book than anything I have read. It is warm and happy. And deep. They have survived by redefining everything!”

“I am in awe. Please read it. You will thank them. I do. Thank you,” Blair added. “And the writing is perfect. They captured celebration in despair.”

It's more than just an Instagram post, though. When Blair shares how the book has impacted her or is candid about her daily struggle with MS, that's all a part of the cycle of hope, Katherine tells Shape. When anyone in the spotlight shares their story of suffering and how they're progressing through it, it can help other people feel more comfortable with the difficulties their own lives, she says.

“If my story could be a part of [Blair’s] healing and her story, that’s just so incredible and truly inspires me,” says Katherine. “You inspire others with the inspiration you receive, and you get to pass it on. We call it ‘hoping it forward.’ Instilling someone else with the hope that you have is probably the coolest thing we can do on this earth.”

And from the looks of the comments on Blair’s Instagram post, the cycle of hope won’t reach breaking point anytime soon. “Thank you very, very much,” wrote one commenter. “I think we need more hope. Some of it is intangible, sometimes we would die without it. I have hope for you. I have hope for me. Lots [of] hope to go around.”

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