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The Real-Life Bionic Girl


When she was born, Tilly Lockey was a perfectly healthy baby, but when she became 15 months old she came up with a rash. She had contracted a severe strain of meningococcal septicaemia. Tilly was rushed to the hospital where she was given a 0% chance of survival, described as 'the worst case the hospital had ever seen'. But, after one week in intensive care, three weeks in recovery, a secondary infection and ten blood transfusions Tilly managed to survive against the odds. The doctors were required to amputate her arms. It was said by everyone who saw her that she must've survived for a reason, and she is only proving that to be true.

Adapting to a world that wasn't meant for her body Tilly experienced many challenges and hardships, but is the first to advocate for the importance of one's mindset when it comes to determination. Not soon after she relearned to walk, she was experimenting with prosthetics - ones that weren't very functional, but incredibly realistic. Tilly grew up in an environment where difference was something to hide away, now the origin of her message is to showcase prosthetics in a beautiful light, accessorising them as something to be proud of across runways, TV and social media. Now at 18, Tilly has grown to be a remarkable young woman with a unique story of transformation. She is a motivational speaker, social media star, presenter, model, advocate and role model to people of all ages, as well as being an active ambassador and co-developer of the Hero Arm, the 3D-printed bionic arms that she wears produced by the groundbreaking prosthetic company, Open Bionics. Tilly offers a unique perspective as somebody directly impacted by technology and its exponential growth, wearing it every day. Tilly trials new prosthetics, giving honest and crucial feedback to make the technology the best it can be for herself and others all around the world and in her words she "Will not stop until this tech matches what we see in science fiction."

Tilly is a versatile speaker who can shed light on adversity, empowerment, technology, innovation and so much more.

Talking Points


Today, Tilly Lockey is known around the world as The Bionic Girl. At 15 months old Tilly was struck down with a deadly form meningococcal septicaemia and was left fighting for her life. Tilly miraculously survived losing her hands and toe tips. Tilly is an upbeat, positive, happy young lady that has never let her disability hold her back! This is not a disability to Tilly; this is what makes her unique and it is something that she has come to embrace. She tells her story with so much passion and enthusiasm that cannot fail to inspire everyone in all walks of life.

Science and Technology

Tilly is only 16 years old but already a world-renowned ambassador for the 3D printing company Open Bionics. She is also one of their users showing off their technology and how it’s helped change her life! Tilly has spoken on some of the world’s largest stages and is know well within the Singularity U Summits. Proudly she can say that she shared a panel with the Dalai Lama talking about compassion and technology and using technology for the good! With a huge social following she is quick becoming an influencer using her Bionics to share that bring different is your most important feature!


When Tilly lost her hands to meningitis septicaemia at 15 months old her mum made her a promise that one day, she would buy her some new hands and open her life to as many opportunities as possible. After discovering that child prosthetics were very limited Tilly became worried that other children would be offered the same limited prosthetics as she had and made it her mission to help prosthetic companies develop the technology quicker by offering to trial and give feedback. Now an ambassador of the 3D printing company Open Bionics Tilly is proud to say that she co designed her hero arm and added certain features into the arms that are being used all around Europe today by many other children. Tilly travels the world telling her story, showing her bionic hands and embraces her differences. She is fast but becoming an internet sensation through her social media.

Diversity and Inclusion

Tilly lost her hands to meningitis when she was 15 months old and has grown up in a world where she is ‘different’. Prosthetics for kids were very limited and aesthetically life-like. Tilly has always questioned why? Today Tilly embraces that your differences are the most important things about you. They are what defines you as unique and you should embrace them. She has become an internet sensation and has won a Humanitarian Award for her social contribution showing other kids with differences to be proud to show them off!

Women in Leadership

After overcoming Meningitis as a toddler and losing her hands in order to save her life, Tilly has always shown how positively she looks at life! Embracing her differences and being body confident without hands, Tilly focus’ on just being yourself and embracing your differences and loving who you are! Her super-power is her makeup brush and Tilly will often Vlog and model about makeup and style on her social platforms. Tilly is an ambassador for Open Bionics a 3D printing company that create bionic hands for below the elbow amputees. The company focus on equality in the workplace with a lot of their engineers being women!

Health, Lifestyle and Wellbeing

Tilly contracted Meningococcal Septicaemia Strain B in 2007 at just 15 months old. She was given 0% chance of survival but after 4 days in intensive care, 3 weeks in recovery, contracting a secondary infection and receiving 10 blood transfusions she survived. Tilly has dedicated her life to raising awareness and fundraising for meningitis charities. She has also helped prosthetic companies develop the technology for children. Tilly is now an ambassador for the 3D printing company Open Bionics and travels the world wearing and using their technology and showing the world that it is fabulous to be different and it’s your differences that you should embrace.
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