Bionic angel

July 20, 2019

At 15 months old, Tilly Lockey from County Durham had both her hands amputated after contracting meningococcal septicaemia strain b. Now 13, she’s an ambassador of Open Bionics and the face of the company’s revolutionary ‘hero arms’. Like other girls her age, Tilly loves make-up and she regularly posts tutorials on YouTube. North East Times met the inspirational teen last month to find out more

“When I was 15 months old, I fell ill and was diagnosed with meningitis septicaemia strain b. It was the worst case the hospital had ever seen and my parents were told I was going to die. I was in intensive care for a week and recovery for three weeks. I had a secondary infection and ten blood transfusions. Somehow, I managed to survive – but they had to amputate my hands.”

“I knew I was different when I would go outside and get stared at. People would stop me and ask what had happened to my hands. I was constantly repeating myself.”

“Now when I go out wearing my arms, kids are excited by them. They say I’m a superhero.”

“I think of my hands as awesome accessories rather than something that help me medically. They’re like a new pair of shoes I can match with my outfit.”

“I have a really strong determination and believe anything’s possible in life. I’ve got no limits.”

“I’m 13 and at the age when most girls get into make-up. I made a tutorial video last Christmas using my bionic hands and put it on YouTube. I now post once or twice a week.”

“I’m starting to get into public speaking. I love inspiring people to make a difference and do something with their lives. I want to do more – as well as continuing to work with Open Bionics to help them make the best hands ever.”

“I can’t wait for the day when everyone accepts it’s cool to be different.”

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Viewpoint: Nick Spurr