Most people don’t give too much thought about getting dressed every day. While putting on pants can seem like a mindless task, people with disabilities such as Cerebral Palsy have had to improvise.
As parents with CP children, it is heartbreaking to watch our children struggle with simple tasks that most of us take for granted. We’ve spent decades hoping a hero would emerge with this necessity in mind.
Because of the gap between the clothing market and the needs of people facing physical challenges – like Cerebral Palsy – adaptive clothing has been mostly provided by medical organizations. But that clothing is far from couture. The lack of big-name fashion brands providing adaptive clothing has left many without a chance to express their personalities through their style. Children struggle every day to fit in, and having limited clothing options makes things even harder. Fashion is a big part of making that happen – it inspires self-expression, tenacity and confidence. It doesn’t seem critical, but children being able to put on adaptive Nikes or styling dresses and clothing would mean so much to these kids.
Mindy Scheier is that hero. This determined mother began this journey when her son Oliver, who has a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy, wanted to wear jeans to school like his friends. She soon realized that millions of people around the world were also struggling to access mainstream fashionable clothing that also met their needs.
After spending 20 years in the fashion industry and opening a design school for kids, Mindy decided to combine her experience and her passion by creating the Runway of Dreams Foundation. This event is helping open the doors and bridging the gap between designers and the disabled in desperate need of adaptive clothing.
Runway of Dreams is a nonprofit organization that works toward a future of inclusion, acceptance, and opportunity in the fashion industry for people with disabilities. Founded on the basis that clothing is a basic human need, the Runway of Dreams Foundation develops, delivers, and supports charitable initiatives to broaden the reach of adaptive clothing and promote the differently-abled community in the fashion industry. We cannot stress how important the Runway of Dreams is to our CCPM community and other groups in need of a champion for adaptive clothing. Mindy’s crusade is answering the dreams and prayers that many of our parents have hoped would be answered.
Fashion has a profound impact on someone’s self-worth, but it doesn’t mean that everyone in this world has the same level of access to clothing that meets his or her needs. Kids in elementary school are astute to the “in” styles and are certainly aware of clothing and footwear that looks out of the norm.
Mindy proves the adage that we live by: One should never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. What she has set out to do will truly revolutionize not only the fashion industry but also improve the quality of life for those with CP and other special needs individuals everywhere.
In the differently-abled community, many families have unique and important stories to share about their experiences living, struggling, adjusting and thriving in life’s everyday moments.
On Wednesday, March 27th, Runway of Dreams will be having an industry-changing fashion show in Las Vegas. This revolutionary event will bring together fashion leaders and innovators from all over to experience the evolution within the fashion industry that is becoming inclusive of people with disabilities.
RJ Mitte, a close friend and board member of CCPM, will be hosting this outstanding event. Being involved in this fashion show is an honor for him, as he remembers altering all of his own clothing growing up. He is excited to be a part of changing the way the differently-abled community can express their true selves through what they wear. He said, “Having a personal love for fashion, adaptive apparel and the inclusion of people with disabilities within the fashion industry is a cause that is very dear to my heart.” Last year, he hosted Runway of Dreams in New York.
We are so inspired by the groundbreaking work that the Runway of Dreams Foundation is doing for people with disabilities around the United States.