Fashion designer overcomes challenge
Fashion designer overcomes challenge Video by 620wtmj.comvideo
MILWAUKEE - They are gorgeous models in beautiful clothes, showing off designer looks that are fun and easy to wear.
They are modeling the collection of Tessa Koller. Koller admits fashion is her passion.
But, there's more to the 28-year-old than her stunning creations. Her backstory is one of early survival and health challenges.
She explains, "As a 10-week-old baby I had open heart surgery. Growing up I had speech problems and I couldn't relate well to my other peers. I had sort of strange allergic reactions. I got sick very easily."
It was not until she was 25 and attending the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design that a doctor diagnosed her with Velo Cardio-Facial Syndrome or VCFS.
The life threatening condition suppresses the immune system, and can cause a host of symptoms from cleft palates, to cardiac problems, even sudden death. Sue Carneol is on the board of the National VCFS Foundation.
She's impressed by Tessa's resolve.
Carneol notes, "She doesn't dwell on the negatives. She dwells on what she can do better. She serves as an inspiration for people young and old."
Thankfully, Tessa's talent keeps her mind off her illness.
She says working is therapeutic.
She admits, "I can sew for hours it puts me in kind of a different world."
Living with VCFS, Tessa chooses to focus not on what she can't do but what she can. With her outstanding outfits, Tessa Koller is clearly on the runway to success. Her advice for others living with chronic health issues.
"Don't lose hope."
Tessa is putting on a fashion show September 28th at the Astor Hotel.
She is excited that the Milwaukee Brewers are helping sponsor the event, which will help raise money and awareness for VCFS.