When Karen Crespo walked the runway at Carrie Hammer’s Fall 2014 show at Fashion Week in New York City, the audience jumped to their feet to give her a standing ovation.
“Karen Crespo is one of the most gorgeous women I know, hands down,” Carrie Hammer told ABC News. “Karen is going to inspire so many people. I hope she inspires the whole world.”
Of course, Crespo wasn’t chosen to walk the runway just for a pretty face. Crespo is actually down in history books as the first quadruple amputee to model at New York Fashion Week. As Hammer has mentioned, this woman is inspiring.
Crespo, who is now 31-years-old, lost all four limbs back in 2011 due to a severe case of bacterial meningitis. Then a registered nurse, she survived two heart attacks, was in a coma for fifteen days and was forced to stay in the ICU for half a year. Despite only a 10% chance of survival, she pulled through.
In this video, Crespo shares the details of her experience with Kababayan LA.
Crespo admits to entering a very dark phase after her amputations, but much of that changed when she watched Carrie Hammer’s model selection for her New York Fashion show in February. The fashion designer chose Danielle Sheypuk, who became the first-ever model in a wheelchair to come down the New York Fashion Week runway. Fueled by inspiration, Crespo reached out to Hammer in an email.
“Seeing her on the runway made me teary-eyed,” Crespo wrote. “because it boosted my self-confidence; something I lacked prior.”
“I have a passion for fashion,” she continued. “I hope one day I will get to show the world ‘Why can’t people with disabilities, people like me, be beautiful and model?’ Maybe one day if I ever get to go to New York I will be able to meet you.”
Hammer, of course, was moved to tears. She didn’t hesitate to ask Crespo to model in her next show “Role Models, Not Runway Models.” Additionally, Hammer helped Crespo get a new set of prosthetics after discovering that Crespo’s custom-made limbs were stolen from her front porch.
With the new limbs, Crespo gained the confidence to go through with the show. She admits that the experience was nerve-racking at first, but says she eventually felt happy and comfortable once the audience cheered her on.
“I have a totally different perspective on things,” she told Today.com. “Maybe this is why everything happened to me. Maybe I’m supposed to inspire or make a difference in someone else’s life, someone who has a disability, or maybe just someone who had a lot of self-doubt.”