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Erase MS

"Heat, Design, & Disease" - A Guest Blog

Posted July 14, 2011

Our second guest blog post comes from Van DiBernardo, a former DKNY designer & MS patient. Here is his story:

Heat, Design, & Disease

As a shoe designer for Donna Karan, I was in perpetual motion: Designing, prototyping, overseeing the production of samples in Brasil, Italy, Spain, France – even when home in Manhattan, I was on par with the city that never sleeps. I was tireless and curious.

My diagnosis with MS has led me down a very unexpected and different path than I had been planning. Instead of designing shoes, I now design ways to help others. Thanks to MS, I again live in my hometown of Buffalo, NY. MS has been a blessing in these ways.

If not for MS, I might never have known how many people struggle for something as simple as Quality of Life. Might never have learned how I could make a difference in one life, much less many lives. If not for the support group I started 7 years ago, I might never have recognized my passion for helping others, which led to Coolture, a venture that allows me to maximize my intimate knowledge of both design and disease.

Through Coolture I will soon introduce a garment designed to cool the core body temperature, thereby reducing the debilitating effects caused by heat on those with MS and other diseases. Unlike other cooling vests, my design offers a clean, sporty appearance—a garment designed for people, not patients.

If you want to chat about MS, symptoms, disease management, cooling, or other curiosities, E-mail me please. I may not have the answers you need, but I will always try to help.

Van (left) at the Race to Erase MS Gala


Van’s signature sketch he used to use in his portfolio

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