Shriners Spotlight: Authentically Aubrey

15th June 2023

Welcome back to Open Bionics’ month-long appreciation campaign for Shriners Children, where special recognition is given to the tireless efforts and devotion to children by each and every Shriners team member to make lives better. We’ve spent time learning about the history of the Shriners fraternity from humble beginnings, dived into all things Lexington, and now it’s time to take a special look at a Hero Arm power user from the Lexington clinic to find out about their experience, care received, and how they’re living life adaptively with their Hero Arm.

Aubrey Sauvie is 11 years old with congenital upper limb difference of both arms, as well as a partial foot amputation, from Tennessee. When she is not drawing or writing, Aubrey finds passion in competition dance, tumbling, and has a 2nd degree black belt in taekwondo. If there was ever a shining example of defying the odds despite limb difference, Aubrey is the embodiment of it.

From 2 months old, Aubrey found care and support at the Shriners Lexington clinic located in Kentucky. “I found out about Aubrey’s limb differences during pregnancy and started seeking resources,” explained Jennifer Sauvie, Aubrey’s mother. “She had her first appointment with Shriners when she was 2 months old to see what they could do to help and support her.” Jennifer said. A major key in Shriner’s care for children is all children are eligible to receive the care they need, regardless of their ability to pay.

As Aubrey has grown, she has received continuous care from the team at Shriners Lexington, care that Aubrey has come to appreciate. “All of the doctors there are really nice and welcoming” she said. Aubrey described how learning how to walk and function with missing hands was made more accommodating by the tender care of the Lexington occupational therapy team. “It was always a good process.” Aubrey said. 

Between the ages of 3 and 5, Aubrey was given the opportunity to utilize body powered prosthetic arms to make day to day tasks more adaptive for her. A body powered upper limb prosthesis uses a harness system to open and close a hook, which requires use of the wearers shoulder to operate effectively. In addition, Aubrey also used a silicone prosthesis with a scoop hand design. However, Aubrey eventually found that using these prosthetic devices wasn’t offering her the best assistance.

“The harness prosthesis caused a lot of back and shoulder pain.” Aubrey shared. Despite Aubrey discovering that a body powered prosthesis wasn’t meeting her needs, it’s important to clarify that this is not a result of the care provided by Shriners. Every amputee has a preference when it comes to the type of prosthesis they want and use, and it’s always important to listen to what your body is telling you. Some choose to go without a device entirely, and that is okay. For Aubrey, it was time to lean on the support of Shriners Lexington to find something better for her. 

“I’m really appreciative of all they’ve done for me, and I thank them and I love them.” Aubrey said of her experience with Shriners.

Aubrey soon discovered Open Bionics, creator of the first medically approved 3D printed bionic prosthesis, the Hero Arm. The Hero Arm uses myoelectric EMG sensors inside a custom fit socket to detect muscle flexes, which operates the hands 6 grip patterns. Aubrey explained that the discovery of the Hero Arm was in part thanks to the power of social media. “I follow some Open Bionics people on TikTok, like Tilly Lockey.” Upon seeing Tilly Lockey, who uses two Hero Arms, Aubrey was motivated to get her own. Shriners Lexington then began the fitting process for Aubrey’s Hero Arm, first helping Aubrey through a series of muscle tests designed to measure her muscle strength to control the Hero Arm successfully. 

“It was a challenge because I was learning how to use muscles that I had never used before.” Aubrey explained. Despite the challenge, Shriners was there to help her along the way. “I had Dr. Walker and Robert (Weber) help me learn to do it,” Aubrey said. “He’s always been really kind and helpful to me.” she shared. Jennifer also pointed out the enthusiasm of the Shriners team in fitting Aubrey with her Hero Arm. “They were really excited about it; Aubrey was the first one at Lexington to get the Hero Arm.” she explained. 

Upon delivery of her Hero Arm, Aubrey was impressed with the functionality of the prosthesis, sharing that it has given her a wider range of dexterity. “I really love how it’s so easy to move the fingers once you really get the hang of it.” she said. Jennifer shared her amazement in how Aubrey is now able to control her new arm, saying that Aubrey never had fingers before and now she does. “She really loves being able to control the fingers, it’s something she was very excited about early on.” she explained. 

The Hero Arm also allows Aubrey to express her style with swapable magnetic covers. Aubrey likes being able to alternate between her black, purple, and green covers depending on her mood or outfit of the occasion. Moreover, Aubrey now has an adaptive device that she’s excited to use as well as something that’s comfortable, thanks to the efforts of Shriners Lexington. 

“I’m really appreciative of all they’ve done for me, and I thank them and I love them.” Aubrey said of her experience with Shriners. Aubrey will continue to receive care at Shriners Lexington, where the team of clinicians will be ready to assist her Hero Arm journey as she grows. Open Bionics is extremely appreciative of Shriners Children’s Lexington for giving Aubrey continued support as well as the opportunity to use the Hero Arm to live an adaptive life. To learn more about Shriners Children’s Lexington, visit To register interest in a Hero Arm, head over to to learn more.