Hi I'm Gracie, I'm 20 years old, and I'm a quadriplegic. Although I am in a chair, my chair does not define me. I'm still a student, big sister, and lover of music and art. Hopefully some of the lessons I've learned along my journey can help you in ways big and small.
In the fall of 2014 I was what you'd consider a typical high school Senior. Most of my time was spent working on college applications and preparing for music school auditions. My passions resided in piano, guitar, cello, voice and dance. I knew music was what I wanted to pursue for the rest of my life. I was a normal healthy teenage kid despite a minor case of Senioritits. Because my friends were busy with college apps and winter concerts, we decided to celebrate my 17th birthday on December 21st, the day before winter vacation. As my friends began to arrive, I knew something was wrong. I suddenly began to feel extreme pain in my neck and numbness and tingling in my hands. A panic overcame me and my Mom rushed me to the ER. Within minutes I was unable to walk and within hours I was completely paralyzed, unable to breathe on my own. A series of tests were taken over the next few days and the doctors came up with a diagnosis of Acute Flaccid Myelitis. I was the 101st case of this polio like illness and little is known about it. Over the next few weeks I was treated with steroids, plasmapheresis, immunoglobulin therapy and chemotherapy. Nothing seemed to help. After five weeks in the ICU I was stable enough to transfer to a rehabilitation hospital. I was fortunate enough to be sent to Craig Hospital in Denver, Colorado. It is well known as one of the worlds best hospitals specializing in spinal cord and traumatic brain injury. Over the next seven months Craig Hospital not only helped me rebuild my body but also my mind and spirit.
I have been home from hospital for three years now! I live in sunny Santa Barbara with my parents (Debbie and Bill), Little sister (Emily-19), and dog Kodi. Now, most of my time is spent running my foundation www.gracefisherfoundation.org and starting next fall I will be pursuing a music composition degree in the College of Creative Studies at UCSB . In the mean time, I enjoy painting, composing music, and gardening with my family.