Living with Essential Tremors: 15-Year-Old on a Mission to Educate and Inspire Others

Gracie (left) with her service dog Saber (right) — Courtesy Photo

Gracie, from Missouri, is a 15-year-old who is one of the over 10 million American’s living with Essential Tremors and knows firsthand how taxing this lifelong disorder is.

Essential tremors, often confused with Parkinson’s Disease, is a life changing movement disorder that causes rhythmic shaking, which is often lifelong and cannot curable.

The condition makes even the simple tasks of everyday life like eating and drinking challenging to perform.

Gracie describes her tremors as “Your entire body having an earthquake and when you try to move like your hands to pick up something, it gets worse.”.

Prescribed medication is available, but because of the uniqueness of the disorder less than 60% of people find it helps, according to the IETF.

Gracie exhausted all the medication and continued to experience terrible shaking, which made daily like a struggle.

After discussing with her doctors about the remaining possibilities, she either could live on or undergo brain surgery.

In 2018, Gracie underwent Deep Brain Stimulation surgery, which exceeded her expectations of the improvements created in her day-to-day life.

About a year ago, after waiting for over two years, Gracie received the service dog she was waiting for.

Saber the service dog stand up looking at the camera

Saber, named after lifesaver, leapfrogged Gracie’s quality of life by helping with her self-confidence, and lowering her anxiety.

“Honestly, it’s kind of sad to say this, but it’s true. If he wasn’t here, I would be gone by now just because of how much he has saved me.” Gracie said.

“Instead of focusing on myself all the time, and ‘I needed to look better’, I just focus on him.”.

Gracie wants to educate more people in her local community about service dogs, because of a lack of education and awareness through her family’s new small charity.

The Saber Life Foundation is on a mission to help make service dogs like Saber more financially accessible for individuals like Gracie, through covering the costs of training.

It can cost over $10,000 US Dollars to buy and train a service dog.

Over the next few years, Gracie wants to finish school, find a job to gather some savings, get a vehicle, and go to college.

Besides that, she explains how she wants to start her own business and help train service dogs like Saber.

Despite the hurdles created by essential tremors, Gracie proves that you shouldn’t let that stop you from achieving your dreams.

To learn more about the The Saber Life Foundation, please follow them on Facebook.