“Where do I even start with this birthday girl?!?” the former Buffy star, 39, captioned a throwback image of the pair laughing at something off-camera. “She’s everything. She’s inspired me … well since … even before I called her a friend. But over the last year, I have watched her inspire and give hope to the world. I thought I knew how tough she was, but I didn’t even have a clue to her power.”
Doherty, who turned 46 on Wednesday, first went public with her cancer battle in August 2015, when it was revealed in court documents that she had undergone a mastectomy and chemotherapy to treat invasive breast cancer. Since then, the former Beverly Hills, 90210, star has been documenting her journey.
“When I think twice about leaving the house without makeup, Shannen shaved her head on the public stage,” Gellar continued in her caption. “When I fiercely guard my privacy, she opened her life, her struggles, her fears and her journey to help people she has never even met. She is a true friend to everyone. Shannen also has the greatest laugh in the world, which is why I chose this picture. To the fiercest, most loyal friend I know … let’s party like it’s your birthday!!! I love you.”
Gellar has been a constant support system throughout Doherty’s battle with breast cancer. Earlier this month, Gellar told Entertainment Tonight that she couldn’t be prouder of how Doherty has fought the disease in such a public way.
“Shannen’s incredible,” the Stirring Up Fun With Food cookbook author told ET. “What she’s done for other women going through it is … so brave, and that’s what real bravery is, is to go through the hardest part of your life and show people, it’s OK to be scared. And it’s OK to be vulnerable, and you can do it.”
Doherty completed her chemotherapy treatment in February, and told Us at the Animal Hope & Wellness Foundation’s first Gratitude Gala in Los Angeles that she’s optimistic about the future.
“I feel great. I mean, I feel good, I’m super-positive, I’m happy with where I’m at right now,” she told Us. “Cancer, for me, as hard as it is, has been a blessing. It has changed who I am as a human being forever. It’s altered my life in ways I can’t even speak of.”
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