FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — Martial arts student Cecile Boynton is no stranger to tough.

She holds a third-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and she used those same skills to recover from a stroke when the odds were not in her favor.

Cecile had a stroke while driving home from work.

She was traveling on U-S 52 from Mount Airy to Winston-Salem on March 21, 2011.

Cecile was taken to the hospital and underwent surgery hours later for a procedure called mechanical thrombectomy.

Even with the procedure, there were concerns about her quality of life.

“[The] stroke happened on the left side, so that meant my whole right side was not working well,” Cecile said.

One prognosis is that she would be paralyzed on one side of her body.

Her husband Mark Boynton refused to accept that and wouldn’t let his wife accept it either.

“I decided we’re not going to be a statistic, and we started the fight right there, and we started in ICU,” he said.

He worked with the doctors and nurses to help Boynton get accustomed to moving the right side of her body.

Slowly but surely, they were seeing progress.

After years of recovering, Cecile is finally fully active in Tae Kwon Do for the first time in almost 12 years.

“It’s remarkable. It’s incredible. She’s the most courageous woman I know,” Mark said.

Cecile is one of the American Heart Association’s Go Red Women in the Piedmont Triad.

That platform allows here to encourage other women to be mindful of their health and potential risk factors.

“Sometimes it’s a struggle. You just have to keep kicking, keep punching until you get through,” she said.