At 15-months-old Tilly Lockey, from the north of England, fought the battle of her life against meningococcal septicemia. She survived although her hands were amputated.
Tilly, now 13, is an advocate for kids with prosthetics and was surprised by the creators of major Hollywood film Alita: Battle Angel with innovative bionic hands before the blockbuster’s London red carpet premiere late last month.
The film is the ultimate girl power story of acceptance, technology, humanity … not to mention cyborgs who are given bionic limbs to fight a futuristic war.
Tilly was told she was needed at The Dorchester Hotel in London for a photo shoot but was surprised by the Twentieth Century Fox team.
“She was in one room and the film crew were waiting secretly next door,” Tilly’s mum Sarah explained.
“She had come down to London thinking she was just coming for a photo shoot – so it was a complete surprise when the film crew came in and presented her with her new arms, telling her she was a real-life Alita.”
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The hands were created in partnership with Open Bionics and Twentieth Century Fox to make sure the limbs could do things like grasp and move properly and weren’t just aesthetic.
The film’s director James Cameron is a big fan of Tilly’s.
“Tilly has grown up to be an incredible person and has never let her disability hold her back in anyway,” he said.
“Prosthetic arms aren’t cheap, especially for children. As Tilly grows from baby to child and child to adult, she needs replacement arms to match her body as she gets older.
“So, we decided to have the Alita design team to work with Open Bionics to build her a bespoke pair of advanced prosthetic arms, that are affordable.”
As well as her huge surprise, Tilly got to play superstar for the evening and walked the Alita: Battle Angel red carpet with actress Rosa Salazar at the London premiere.
Part future, part machine, all inspirational.
Alita: Battle Angel is in cinemas now.