Cane and able

Fash­ion model pro­mot­ing a spirit of can-do on the cat­walk

Metro Canada (Toronto) - - TORONTO - David hains Metro | Toronto

When Rachel Romu walks down the run­way, she turns heads.

The 24-year-old has been mod­el­ling for about a year and just worked Toronto Fash­ion Week, where she be­lieves she was the first per­son with a mo­bil­ity dis­abil­ity to walk the run­way.

Romu has walked with a cane since be­ing di­ag­nosed with Eh­lers-Ban­los syn­drome in early 2016, and since then she’s worked to cre­ate pos­i­tive im­ages for peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties.

“With mod­el­ling I wanted to cre­ate im­ages that I wanted to see,” says the for­mer Univer­sity of Toronto track and field ath­lete. “Dis­abled peo­ple de­serve to feel pos­i­tive too.”

The con­nec­tive tissue dis­or­der be­gan as chronic back pain, and Romu be­lieved it was due to in­juries re­lated to high jump and long jump. A spinal tu­mour was then dis­cov­ered, and her dis­or­der was di­ag­nosed a short time later. It dis­rupts col­la­gen pro­duc­tion and af­fects her joints, she says.

“The most chal­leng­ing part was not know­ing what was go­ing on,” she says.

With more cer­tainty about her health, Romu is fo­cused on what she wants to ac­com­plish.

“I re­ally want to bring dis­abled vis­i­bil­ity into peo­ple’s liv­ing rooms,” she says.

was di­ag­nosed with Eh­lers-Ban­los syn­drome in early 2016. The con­nec­tive tissue dis­or­der af­fects the sta­bil­ity of a per­son’s joints.

She con­cedes “it’s been a chal­lenge to some ex­tent.”

One client can­celled a job af­ter learn­ing she uses a cane, Romu said.

De­spite the ob­sta­cles, Romu re­mains op­ti­mistic. She’ll ap­pear at an­other show on Col­lege Street on Sept. 21 and at an­other in Oc­to­ber. In the mean­time, she’s feel­ing good about work­ing at Toronto’s fash­ion show­case.

“I’m very proud,” she said.

Con­TriB­uTEd

Rachel Romu

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