Brave Emily Thompson has amazed doctors by recovering from a rare nerve disorder that left every part of her body paralysed – including her eyelids.
The former dancer went to see doctors in July when she started to get numb feeling in her hands and feet and was immediately admitted to the Royal Victoria Infirmary, in Newcastle.
The 20-year-old was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome – a disease which causes the immune system to attack the nerves and her family were told to prepare for the worse.
As the disease, which affects just one in 50,000 people, took hold of Emily's body she developed pneumonia and spent the next seven weeks on a ventilator in the hospital's intensive care ward.
Doctors did not expect her to survive and her parents Carolyn, 51, and 49-year-old David kept a vigil at her bedside.
Re-living the ordeal, social work student Emily said: "There were ten days when I couldn't remember anything. I didn't know what was real or what was a dream."
But after spending ten weeks in hospital, she has come back from the brink and has taken her first steps.
"I just wanted to cry when I started to move," said Emily.
"It was so overwhelming because I thought I was never going to walk again."
Mum Carolyn added: "She wasn't showing any signs of improving. It became impossible to communicate with Emily and for a few days she couldn't even move her eyes.
"It was just unbelievable to see her up on her feet again, even though she was supported by the physio. But it's heartbreaking to see her being shown how to walk again."
She added: "There is little known about the disease and I hope Emily's story will raise awareness."
Emily, who lives in Newton Hall, near Durham, has been transferred to Walkergate Park rehabilitation centre, in Northumberland, where she will continue her recovery.