A talented dancer has fought back from major surgery to twirl her way into the spotlight.
In July, Kirby Campbell, 25, underwent the trauma of having her colon removed after being diagnosed with the bowel disease, ulcerative colitis.
But she refuses to let the condition, which means she requires a stoma bag, get in her way.
She’s just finished performing at the Sunderland Empire in Aladdin, a role she can add to her CV alongside performing on cruise ships around the world, as well as touring Canada with the show, Spirit of Dance.
“I’ve done panto for a few years, but this one was special because it was close to home,” she said. “Everyone in the cast has been so supportive, they were shocked at first when I initially told them, as they didn’t realise I have a stoma bag.
“But I don’t want to restrict myself, dancing is my passion.”
Kirby, who was diagnosed with the condition two years ago, says she wants to break down the stigma that surrounds bowel disease.
Despite having to move back home to Westoe, South Shields, from London, where she’d won a scholarship to London Studios, Kirby turned it into a positive.
She now helps young dancers at Attic Studios in Jarrow, where she teaches, to chase their dreams.
Just days after finishing the panto, Kirby is now back at Newcastle’s RVI Hospital as surgeons perform major surgery to create a J-pouch, which would eventually mean the dancer wouldn’t need to use a stoma bag.
She’ll be in hospital for a fortnight, ahead of a long recovery period, and a follow up operation in May.
The dancer, who in 2008 won Miss Dance Of Great Britain, said: “I feel it’s important to talk about conditions like this as it affects so many people. We’ll never know what caused mine. I first noticed when I was dancing in panto in Glasgow two years ago.
“I was really poorly but I wanted to continue my dancing. I was upset that I had to move home from London, but I’m a positive person and I won’t let it stand in my way.”
Mum Lindsey Randall said: “We are so very proud of this young lady. No one would know watching her on stage what she has gone through, and still has to go through.”