18-year-old SoCal woman becomes first model with cerebral palsy to walk ramp at LA Fashion Week

AGOURA HILLS, Calif. (KABC) -- There's a young Southern California woman who's paving a new path for both herself and other people who have big dreams they're not willing to give up.

Life hasn't been easy for 18-year-old Tami Ferreira. She's faced serious medical challenges throughout her life.

Her mom Ana-Paula describes Tami as a survivor. Her twin sister died shortly after birth.

"From what we understand today is, because she was separated from her twin, held her breath, pined for her for lack of a better explanation, and the lack of oxygen ultimately manifested into the cerebral palsy," Ferreira said.

It left Tami paralyzed on one side of her body. The medical prognosis wasn't good.

"Tami in all probability will never sit, walk or talk," Ferreira said.

After attending nearly a dozen different schools, the Ferreira family moved from South Africa to Agoura Hills when Tami was 12, and everything seemed to change.

She's found a passion for fashion. With that passion, Tami was unstoppable.

Just a few weeks ago, she walked the ramp at Los Angeles Fashion Week, becoming the first model with cerebral palsy to do so.

"I love the fame," Tami said with a huge smile on her face. "Disability doesn't define me as a person who I am."

Tami's mom says her daughter has a way of focusing not on her disability, but abilities.

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