Quadruple amputee walks runway: 'I felt beautiful again'

WEST COVINA, Calif. (KABC) -- A Southern California woman who became the first-ever quadruple amputee to walk the runway during New York Fashion Week called it an unforgettable experience.

"I don't want me being an amputee defining me. Anyone who has ever had self-doubt, I hope that that was for them. That walk was not only for me, but it was for them," said 31-year-old Karen Crespo.

More than two years ago, Crespo, a devoted nurse, nearly lost her life to a severe form of bacterial meningitis. Her arms and legs were amputated. Crespo doesn't dwell on what she can't do; she goes after what she wants.

"You're in charge of your own reality. Yes, what happened to me two and a half years ago was a horrible thing, but I have to make that negative into a positive," said Crespo.

After learning that designer Carrie Hammer featured a model in a wheelchair in one of her shows, Crespo contacted her and was invited to walk the runway.

"Once I did my first pose, everyone was smiling and clapping. That is when I said, 'I got this,'" said Crespo, who donned a red dress. "I just took it all in and I just felt for the first time in a long time, probably first time since my illness, I felt beautiful again."

Last November, a shipment containing $100,000 of prosthetic limbs was stolen off of Crespo's doorstep in West Covina. Hammer also worked to have Crespo's prosthetic arms replaced in time for the Sept. 5 show.

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