By Danny Baggott @dan_baggie
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Videographer / director: Keith Macri
Producer: Danny Baggott, Ruby Coote
Editor: Beth Angus
Keisha Greaves, now 32, lives with limb-girdle muscular dystrophy, which has resulted in the muscles in her arms and legs becoming extremely weak.
Unable to raise her arms at all, Keisha has learnt to live differently - not knowing how her body will feel each morning she wakes up and getting around in a specialised wheelchair.
Keisha admits that it took her a few years to come to terms with the diagnosis as a woman living in her mid 20s – but despite the inevitable hardship, she has turned her love of fashion into a successful career, launching her very own clothing line and brand ‘Girls Chronically Rock’.
With the sole purpose of inspiring others to live positively and embrace their difference, Keisha couldn’t be more pleased with how the new business venture is going.
Keisha, who resides in Massachusetts, USA, told Barcroft TV: “I always loved to wear graphic t-shirts with different colours and designs – so I thought why not come up with a t-shirt line to share my story and help bring disability awareness.
“Some things happen for a reason, you know, and that’s when I feel like ‘Girls Chronically Rock’ started.”
Keisha now takes daily medication to keep her pain levels in check and has a carer visit each morning to help out around her house.
“I can’t walk up and down the stairs anymore like I used to,” she said.
“Doing pretty much everything is a challenge.
“I would say I’m tough and strong. You don’t realise how strong you are until you’re dealing with something.
“Every day I wake up, I don’t know how my body will feel. I can’t raise my right arm to say, give you a handshake or a proper hug.
“Things like getting dressed on a regular basis is a constant challenge for me.”
And Keisha had several examinations before doctors were able to identify her rare condition.
She said: “I had a muscle biopsy where they took muscle from my right leg and tested it to determine my disease.
“Every test you can think of, I’ve probably taken.
“I was just in total denial at the time of the diagnosis, it took a few years to honestly accept it.
“It wasn’t until the day I was typing it and saying it out loud for my blog, and I was like ‘oh wow, I have muscular dystrophy’.”
Once Keisha had achieved her degree in Fashion Design & Business, she soon started with her career and came up with the idea for ‘Girls Chronically Rock’.
“A lot of people would say to me on social media that they’d never heard of muscular dystrophy,” she said.
“So I decided to reach out to a web developer and he helped me create my website.
“I then sorted my designs and logos and everything came together.
“The orders are going well. I recently added a child collection which is cool.
“I like to tell people about my brand and bring awareness to what is going on. I have connected with a lot of people through that.”
Keisha is now looking to expand her business, by making it into a ‘movement’.
She said: “I just want to create awareness of disability to a big community.
“I want people to be aware of what ‘Girls Chronically Rock’ is.
“I get lots of messages on Instagram with people saying things like ‘oh wow, I love your story’.
“It makes me feel good. I’m hoping we can end up in Macey’s and local boutiques on 34 street in Manhattan – all over the place really!”