New York Fashion Week to feature NJ woman who is in a wheelchair

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A New Jersey woman who has always dreamed of being a model will get her chance this Saturday during New York Fashion Week.

Kelly Boyd of Hamilton Township was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at age 2, causing joint damage that has left her in a wheelchair. She says that she hopes her opportunity at the fashion show will allow her to send a powerful message about inclusion.

“I actually started to cry and I couldn't believe it and jumped at the chance,” she says. “A lot of shows are not very inclusive or do not feature people with disabilities. And if they do, it's typically not someone who has arthritis, which is very visible."

Boyd was selected to be Ms. Wheelchair New Jersey in 2006. She now works as a disability advocate. She connected with fashion designer Michael Kuluva, who also has rheumatoid arthritis.

Kuluva includes “arthritis-friendly clothing” in his fashion line Tumbler and Tipsy.

“We have magnetic closures. We have more zippers. We have more Velcro,” he says.

Boyd says she's ready for her moment in the spotlight.

"I enjoy fashion. I like to look nice for work and the presentations I give. And so, I think it's important to have people like myself represented in these shows,” she says.

The Tumbler and Tipsy fashion show that Boyd is featured in is presented by CreakyJoints, an online community of arthritis patients. It takes place Saturday night, in Chelsea.

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