DALLAS - A north Texas woman who lost the use of her legs and an arm in a car wreck as a toddler has designed a coat for people who use a wheelchair. And she's now patenting the design in hopes of making more coats for others.
For as long as she can remember, Jessica Sasfai has loved fashion. But the clothes available in stores weren't always accessible to her.
“They said I would never be able to talk, walk, eat by myself, dress myself. Any of that,” she said.
At 21 months old, Sasfai was in a serious car wreck. Doctors told her family she would forever be in a vegetative state.
“I was always fueled by that,” she said. “Like, let me show you what I can do. Let me show you you're wrong.”
Sasfai left home for college at 18, graduated from the Art Institute of Dallas and works full time in customer care at Neiman Marcus. But designing clothes isn't just a passion — it’s a necessity.
Sasfai can't straighten her left arm, and clothes tend to bunch awkwardly in a wheelchair. So she designed her own prom dress, a gown for her grandparent's 50th anniversary and, most recently, a winter coat. It comes included with snaps, magnets and stretchable fabric that Sasfai can pull on and off in minutes and without help.
“The struggle — it’s gone,” she said. “If that's one less struggle we have during the day, that's a job well done.”
Sasfai realized others could use a coat like hers, too. She's filed for a patent and started a GoFundMe page to help pay for the startup costs. She dreams of manufacturing her coat in North Texas and make it affordable to men and women who, like her, are willing to work smarter and harder to succeed.
“A lot of us cook and clean and take care of kids and families,” she said. “And everything is just a little bit harder, and this is one less thing that has to be that much harder.”
Sasfai has a husband and young step-daughter. She's still working full-time and funneling any extra energy into finishing her patent. Sasfai calls her design the Kind-er Coat. Her goal is to keep it as affordable as possible, around $50, for people who may be on disability.