Such a consummate performer is Stacey Brassell, watching her performing onstage for Taree Arts Council's latest production, The Revue, you'd never guess the depth of physical and emotional pain she was experiencing at the time.
Stacey has undergone such an extraordinarily difficult couple of years it would knock anyone flat.
In January 2022 it was confirmed her father, Taree real estate agent Greg Brassell, had lung cancer. In March, he had his left lung completely removed. In April, 2022 Stacy had hip replacement surgery that went wrong. A week berfore her surgery, Stacey was forced to close her business, Stacey Lee's Centre Stage, where she taught performing arts classes to 150 local students.
Greg cared for Stacey post operation, despite going through chemo himself, as thankfully it did not seem to affect him. In turn, she cared for her dad while she also was recovering.
"I wouldn't have had it any other way," Stacey says.
In March 2023, Stacey's beloved Nan died and in April, her father died.
And it did knock Stacey flat. She is still feeling raw grief, over her nan, father and marriage, and she admits it has been hard to get out of bed, let alone out of the house.
A call from Gayle Cameron, who directed Stacey in her role as Éponine in Taree Arts Council's production of Les Misérables in 2018, was a catalyst for Stacey beginning to step out of the dark.
"Gayle's been my biggest supporter. For the last few years, she's been amazing," a visibly emotional Stacey says.
On behalf of directors Travis Cross and Ayesha Haeta, Stacey was asked if she could perform two songs in Taree Arts Council's latest production The Revue, which played at The MEC in late October and early November this year.
Stacey didn't know if she could do it. "But, I thought 'this might get you out of bed, out of the house'," Stacey says.
"I wasn't leaving the house, I just couldn't because I'd been with Dad day, night, day, night for so long that I didn't know what life was meant to be like afterwards, because our connection was crazy strong. We've always had a really close bond. We were each other's person."
Told she would only have to stand and sing two songs, Stacey took the plunge back onto the stage for two reasons.
The first, three days before Greg died, he whispered to Stacey his dying wish - for her to start singing again.
"He actually said he wanted me to do gigs again. And then he started listing all the songs he wanted me to sing, and listing the venues that I should go and see and the people to talk to. This was right before he stopped being able to talk," Stacey said.
"So I said righto Dad, I'll do it for you."
The second reason was because performing gives her joy.
However, it ended up being a lot more than Stacey bargained for.
Stacey has a degenerative autoimmune disease, polymyalgic rheumatica, and it causes her constant pain. She also suffers pain from her hip replacement.
Since the age of six Stacey has been a gymnast. She suffered constant lower back pain, thought at the time to be caused by gymnastics. However, in later years it was found the ball and socket joints were tiny.
"I was pushing myself to be as good as the other girls and pushing past where my range of motion was. So it was tearing my labrum (a rim of cartilage that lines the hip socket) but we didn't know, it was always just put down to my lower back," Stacey explained.
Hence the need for a hip replacement. However, it has left one leg shorter than the other, causing issues in her back, hip and SI joint in the pelvis.
Stacey was required to move while she sang when she performed in The Revue.
"Weirdly, the dancing side of things was mostly okay as it was only short bursts and they let me wear joggers so that definitely helped," she laughs.
One song required her to walk down stairs as she sang. In one rehearsal, she forgot her lines as she was trying silently to figure out how she was going to get down the stairs the way they wanted her to. She ended up crying, as much from embarrassment as pain.
Stacey says she survived the rehearsals and shows with regular osteopath visits, physiotherapy rehabilitation sessions, strong pain killers and a lot of encouragement from her mother Lee, daughter Téa and son Tyler.
Regardless, she is very glad she did it and has made life long friends.
"It was worth doing it just for the happiness and reminder to myself to always do what you love!" she says.
Stacey needs a second hip replacement and some time after that, the hip in her other leg needs replacing.
Since appearing in The Revue, Stacey has been getting constant phone calls from people wanting her to perform, however, she's having to be very choosy.
She's floating the idea of creating an immersive theatre cabaret-style show to continue highlighting our area's talent and to utilise the new Beryl Jane Flett Studio, but that is some time in the future.
For now she is excited to be directing MidCoast Christian College's next musical production, Seussical.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.