The stroke suffered by Anna Smith-Higgs on Christmas Day left the then 24-year-old bedridden for two years.
Going through severe depression Anna has come out the other side determined to make up for lost time.
Now 38 the mum has ticked a few things off her list since recovering from the stroke in 2004 just weeks after she gave birth to her son Henry.
After being rushed to Cambridge’s Addenbrooke’s Hospital, where she lost the movement in her right arm, doctors told Anna she may never walk again.
Fast forward fourteen years and Smith-Higg has already had boxercise lesson, taking up fire breathing, abseiled down a building and signed up for dressmaking lessons…But there’s one achievement which towers over them all.
Anna says she owes her new lease of life to burlesque dancing.
She told The Mirror: “I can twirl my nipple tassels with the best of them – in seven directions.
“I spent two years wasting my life feeling sorry for myself until one day I just thought ‘no more’.
“Since then I’ve done things I’d never imagined. In some ways I’m grateful I had the stroke because I’d never have achieved so much without it. It made me fearless.”
Her show has already seen packed crowds at London Hippodrome where Anna almost bares all in front of film which traces her journey.
The mum said: “It took a long time to come to terms with the fact I am disabled, but as soon as I accepted it, life became a whole lot easier.
“The first time I went on stage it was a bit scary. I was very much aware of my right arm, which just kind of hangs there. But I absolutely love being in front of people now. I can make men cry with my act and I’m raising awareness that young people have strokes.
“I can seriously say that burlesque has changed my life.”
Anna Smith-Higg is taking her Burlesque show to an Oslo Festival in August
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