With an IV line sticking out of one arm, Grace Stratton used the other to type her first blog post from a hospital bed.
It was November 2015, and she was about to undergo her sixteenth surgery in as many years.
Now 17, the Warkworth resident’s writing has taken off, and has seen her nominated for the Young Leader category of this year’s Women of Influence Awards.
Born with spastic diplegia cerebral palsy, Grace noticed at a young age that she stood out.
“My entire life – because I’m disabled – everything I did, people paid more attention to it,” she said.
“Even just simple things like making my own cups of tea or being independent, people took more notice. As I got older and became an adult, I realise that gave me power.”
Grace used the power of her platform to her advantage, and took up blogging.
Utilising her website, Facebook page and Instagram, Grace produces regular content for her followers, and for herself.
“I haven’t just been hooked on it because I enjoy it – I’ve been hooked on it because of necessity as well. It’s something that I need to do for my own sanity,” she said.
“The real world is quite difficult for me to navigate around. I find it hard to get from place to place.
“There’s very little that I can do without difficulty, but the internet and computer is one thing that I am able to do without problems.”
Grace says she gets her mindset from her family, and finds inspiration in disability advocates Robbie Francis and Jess Quinn.
She also admires the work of social media influencers Logan Dodds and Jesse James Cassrels whom Grace accompanied on a jetski adventure in April.
“I admire the way they chased dreams and hustled without apology, and they’re always there to help,” she said.
Grace says the best influence empowers people to have the confidence to make a change.
“It’s not just about influencing a community – it’s about influencing people to know that the responsibility is on them. They have the power to make changes in their situation.”
Search graciegeorgiastratton on Instagram for more.