The pilot’s voice came up over the communication system jolting me out of my thoughts. We are 44,000 feet above sea level flying over China en route New York where my fashion line Chuks Collins is now headquartered. I was thinking about the future and how it is that dreams come true. My trip to Hong Kong had been successful. I had closed a fantastic deal with a major fabric supplier. Life is good and I feel blessed. Yet, less than 2 years ago my life was truly a dream except that that dream was a nightmare.
It’s 2012 and I am at the height of my fashion career in Lagos, Nigeria. My designs where sold in five stores locally, I had clients in London, USA and Milan. Life seemed to be getting better and I actually just got my invitation to showcase at the New York Fashion Week. All my hard work hadled to a successful career at the age of 28. Then there was a bad turn in the road. In September 2012 I was involved in a car accident and the doctors muted the idea of amputating my right foot. It was a great relief when I was told my leg was saved but worse was to come.
Later in January 2013, I was back in the hospital, my leg had been infected and the complications had led to a kidney disease. Several agonizing months of expensive treatments and dialysis later from June 2013. This went on with different treatments, trials, blood transfusions and infusions all in the quest to save my life. In September I was told that all options failed, and for me to live I will need to seek further treatments abroad and get a transplant.
My friends in the fashion industry and my church rallied round me to raise the funds necessary for me to live, I landed in New York and was admitted for specialist care to follow through with treatment. I was glad that things were getting better and I survived the whole procedures only to find out in November about more complications and I was admitted back to the New York Presbyterian Hospital, I battled to live, I fought through depression. Often during this period, I thought I was going to loose the battle but the love of the people that surrounded me and their sacrifices helped to pull me through and my life was radically changed by it.
I volunteered with Housing Works soon after I was discharged from the hospital. I knew I owed my life to the love of those who came to my rescue, I wanted to pay it forward. The more I served, the more I healed and the more I came to appreciate the power of service to the community and then another dream was born. That dream is Fashion Vie.
Friends, I’d like to invite you to join me in continuing to serve and to give hope to the many people who like me and may be like you at one time, are being served by our recipient organizations (Housing Works) people who have nowhere else to go. It is my honor to invite you to Fashion Vie and to request your support as we celebrate a night of fashion, life and charity.