Sarah Abrusley - From Ballerina to Stroke Survivor to Mother
Sarah Abrusley was a professional ballerina before suffering a stroke. Sarah is a wife to husband, Damien, and mother to son, Alexei. She is a volunteer and advocate for the American Heart Association- New Orleans, where she lives.
Too many times one allows herself to be defined by what one does rather than what her spirit holds dear. I look at the above facets of my life and feel such great accomplishment that I am proud to be identified in such a fashion.
Shortly after returning from touring Italy and Bulgaria with Komenka Ethnic Dance and Music Ensemble as a lead dancer, I suffered a massive hemorrhage in the right frontal lobe of my brain due to a cavernous malformation, at age 29.
Since then, I have translated my talents as a professional ballerina and performer into a vocation as an inspirational speaker and spokesmodel or as I call myself, “strokes model” for the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association.
This incredible journey from world-traveling dancer to half-paralyzed stroke survivor, to mother has been a stunning triumph. It would not have been possible without my incredible support system as well as my own refusal to be limited in any fashion from living the life that I choose. I promise to instill these values into my son Alexei Lanaux Abrusley. He will learn from me, his mother, to always be a survivor and never a victim!
Even though I suffer residual weakness in my left arm and hand, I’m not surprised by how easy it is to care for Alexei and keep up with his energy and needs. I know that my natural creativity and extensive background in movement has worked strongly to my advantage. I face each moment as a mother and with the eyes of a choreographer. Sometimes the way that I accomplish my goals doesn’t look like a “normal” person. I’ve never considered myself “normal,” so why start now?
I’m more thoughtful and methodical in my physical approach to many things, and always “make it happen.” I encourage other survivors or anyone who suffers a limitation to live his best life in the best manner that he can achieve each day. My best isn’t the same each day, and that’s fine. I put forth the greatest effort that I can at any given moment and savor each triumph fully.
A great hope of mine is that Alexei will one day write his college entry essays about me, although I can already tell that he’s proud of his Mama. I’m also certain that Damien, Alexei and I will always find the way that’s the best fit for our family. I look forward to our continuing adventure!