Gracie, an aspiring actress was born with congenital limb differences, meaning her left arm was missing below the elbow. Initially, her Mum Helen was worried about how Gracie would be treated and whether she would be bullied at school, however as Helen says in a video for the Tej Kohli Foundation: “It didn’t take long for Gracie’s personality to start to show”.
Gracie had owned a prosthetic arm from the NHS since she was 5 months old but stopped wearing it. Speaking to Metro about her previous NHS arms, Gracie said: “I felt these arms were just the most hideous things. They were bulky and just a weird colour that was not anyone’s skin tone. It didn’t serve any purpose, other than to fill my sleeve as I couldn’t actually use it to do anything.”
As she got older, Gracie got more involved with musical theatre and became very aware that there were not many stars like her performing on stage. That didn’t stop Gracie from pursuing her dreams as she graduates from The BRIT School and started studying at The Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts.
In a post on City AM, Gracie writes that: “My desire is to single-handedly (pardon the pun) introduce more disability into theatre and performance and my hope is that I can show other ‘disabled’ young people that it can be done and encourage them to pursue their own ambitions on stage”.
Gracie received her new bionic arm from Tej Kohli at the Tej Kohli. The 3D-printed Hero Arm was developed by Bristol-based Open Bionics and have been applauded by clinicians and healthcare providers for its precise and delicate movements.
Gracie was shocked and overwhelmed at first when she got accepted by the Tej Kohli foundation for the #FutureBionics program. She had just begun her new performing arts c course in London and on her interview with The Mirror, she said: “I’m ecstatic. It will help me achieve roles I wouldn’t have been given having just one arm.”
Gracie is now very optimistic about leading a bionic life and believes that she can make a positive impact on society. In her interview with Metro, she said: “The most important thing for me, is that if I am cast with this arm, there will be disabled kids coming to see shows and seeing something that they might be able to connect with. Theatre should reflect the society that we live in.”
In the early months of 2021, Tej Kohli Foundation marked its first anniversary of the #FutureBionics program. Gracie is now continuing her studies in theatre and performance and she is not afraid to face any new roles. Marking the one year of being bionic, Gracie’s mom Ellen said to PRNewswire: “I secretly knew from about age 6 that Gracie was walking out of the door and placing her prosthetic arm into her school bag as she left. But the Hero Arm can do things that regular prosthetics cannot and now Gracie feels confident and ready to take on the world!”