SYRACUSE -- They call her amazing Grace for more reasons than you can count.
Gracie Kaye Hinds is a 9-year-old performer who loves the spotlight. She is artistic and creative; she plays the guitar and keyboard; and she loves listening to all kinds of music, especially rock and roll. She is a fourth-grader at Syracuse Arts Academy, a school that fits her like a glove because of its emphasis on the arts.
But on Aug. 25, Gracie's life took a cruel turn.
She had been suffering from minor cold and flu symptoms for about a week, when she awoke in the middle of the night, delirious. Her parents, Mindy and Ryan Hiinds, rushed her to Ogden Regional Medical Center, where she began to have unrelenting seizures.
Gracie was flown by Life Flight to Primary Children's Medical Center, where she was placed into a drug-induced coma to give her body a rest from the seizures and to give doctors a chance to determine their cause.
Doctors kept her in the coma until Nov. 11, when, during her 11th week in the hospital, Gracie opened her eyes.
According to Amy Miller, a close family friend, doctors were shocked that Gracie could fight through the large amounts of medication in her system to awaken.
Doctor's had begun lowering Gracie's coma medications but didn't expect her to awaken for another week.
"It was the first time in 11 weeks that her parents could see their daughter's eyes and interact with her," Miller said. "If you believe in numerology, it means new beginnings."
For the first time in months, Gracie was able to follow her parents' voices with her eyes, squeeze their hands when asked, and blink in response to questions.
The cause of Gracie's seizures is still unknown.
Doctors have a couple of viable theories, which is why they felt confident in lowering her medications to allow her to slowly come out of her coma, said Jim Derrick, Gracie's uncle.
The doctors need Gracie to be awake in order to test their theories to prevent her seizures, he said.
Miller has coordinated numerous fundraising events to benefit the family by helping with medical expenses.
There have been dinners, raffles and shows. Race for Grace wristbands and Gracie stickers have become hot items. The largest fundraising event was the 5K Race for Grace held on Oct. 15.
The 5K raised $16,000 for the family. Overall, the fundraisers have contributed $31,000 toward the immense medical bills incurred by Gracie's illness, Miller said.
"It keeps our family's hope going," said Amy Taylor, Gracie's aunt, when asked about the fundraisers. "It keeps us motivated thinking about everybody that cares."
Gracie will also have her own tree at the Festival of Trees this year that will benefit Primary Children's Hospital. The tree is being created by Audrey Ramos, of Layton. Miller said she is excited to give something back to the hospital that has done so much for Gracie.
Gracie has a long road ahead, but her family is hopeful for more improvement.
Miller, who has been scrapbooking everything that has happened since Gracie's hospitalization, said she can't wait to show Gracie how many people care for her and her family.
"I can't wait for her to wake up so I can show her what a rock star she is," she said.
"Gracie is an incredible girl who is still there, waiting to get back out there and make the world a better place," Derrick said. "We can't wait to get our Gracie back."