A Bit of Grace, With Some ‘Power’
Grace Fisher is a typical music aficionado, daydreaming of developing the score for a Disney smash hit, still inspired by the music from animated hits such as A Bugs Life, Up and the Incredibles — none known for their mainstream melodies but left a lasting impression on the 23-year-old.
“Disney does a great job of just capturing a moment in time,” said Fisher, in her last year at UCSB. “I think there’s so many ways to be able to help create a little world.”
What Grace hasn’t realized quite yet is that she has already created one — and it encompasses countless people that are inspired by her choice of positivity in the face of adversity, as during her senior year of high school, she was diagnosed with Acute Flaccid Myelitis.
The disease left her paralyzed from the neck down — but she’s determined to let her smile do the talking, not her disability.
“I think you have to consider new possibilities; even though my life is much different than I thought it was going be like — different doesn’t mean any worse, it just means I have to look for inspiration in other areas of my life,” Grace said. “I think if you’re just willing to change the possibilities of your outcome, I think there are so many things out there for you; you just have to be open minded.”
Grace’s story inspired the 2020 documentary, Amazing Grace, a precursor to her new starring role in I Am My Power, an original film from the Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation set to premiere on October 21 at 7 pm at the West Wind Drive-In in Goleta.
Grace stars alongside three other motivational figures in Danny Gomez, David Francisco, and Wesley Hamilton — all survivors of spinal cord injuries.
“I’ve been in Santa Barbara pretty much my entire life, and after coming home from the Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital, it really was a place where I felt at home,” Grace said.
Prior to that recovery, Grace was set to go to the Berklee College of Music, as she is an accomplished musician, including playing the piano, cello, and guitar. Her passion for the medium didn’t wane after her diagnosis, being introduced to music therapy and adaptive art as rehab therapies — all of which have helped Grace strengthen her neck, as well as her mind and soul.
While she continues to adapt to new ways of playing music, Grace has also had her music played by the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony, Santa Barbara Strings, and the Solstice Chamber Orchestra.
For Grace, her community is what gives her needed strength.
“I think there’s a lot of things that contribute to my power and I think there’s my community and my family — I think they are as much a force that helps me as my power within myself,” Grace said.“I’m living my life as best that I can, and I think if people are able to draw inspiration from that, then I am very honored to have the opportunity to be that person.”