Newsbeat

Selma Blair 'inspiring' for talking about MS

Selma Blair Image copyright Getty Images

Selma Blair's been described as "inspiring" and "brave" for speaking out about living with multiple sclerosis (MS).

The Another Life actress opened about her condition on Good Morning America on Wednesday - the first time since she told fans last year.

MS is an incurable condition affecting the brain or spinal cord, causing vision, balance and muscle problems.

Newsbeat's been speaking to 28-year-old Natasha Proctor, who also has MS.

Image copyright Natsaha Proctor

"Just seeing somebody like Selma Blair, who is so famous and well known and how she's been open about her diagnosis, it's really inspiring," says Natasha - who started getting symptoms when she was 15.

"As a teenager I had really, really big dizzy spells.

"I couldn't really walk properly, I'd have terrible headaches, randomly my leg or arm would go numb.

"It's just amazing having someone to point to, and say to your friends and family: 'Look you can still do things and there's a whole world out there.'"

During the TV interview, Selma's speech was notably affected and she walked with a cane, which she'd embellished with a pink diamond.

"Looking at her you might think nothing's wrong but then you hear her speak - people don't know about those sort of symptoms," says Natasha.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Selma Blair used a cane to walk the red carpet at the post-Oscars Vanity Fair party on Sunday

"When they think of MS, they think of someone in a wheelchair."

Speaking at the Vanity Fair Oscars party, Selma Blair told the magazine: "If I can help anyone be more comfortable in their skin, it's more than I've ever done before."

Natasha says hearing someone like Selma speak so publicly about MS and seeing her use a cane is "very emotional".

What is multiple sclerosis (MS)?

Multiple sclerosis is a condition that can affect the brain and/or spinal cord.

According to the NHS, there are a wide range of potential symptoms, including problems with vision, arm or leg movement, sensation or balance.

It's a lifelong condition that can sometimes cause serious disability, although it can occasionally be mild.

Around 127,000 people live with MS in the UK and it's most commonly diagnosed in people in their 20s and 30s. It's much more common in women than men.

Image copyright Natasha Proctor

Since being diagnosed five years ago and being prescribed the correct medicine, Natasha says she's lived an almost normal life - travelling and changing jobs.

"It is a horrible condition and it's been hard at times but it's not the end and you still can go out there and do things and live a really fulfilling life."

Genevieve Edwards, Director of External Affairs at the MS Society, says: "MS can be painful and exhausting but, as Selma acknowledges, it's unpredictable and different for everyone.

"That's why her decision to speak out, especially during a relapse, is so significant. It will be a revelation to many to see the reality of life with MS."

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