CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Tae McKenzie isn't just a model, she's a role model.
"There are so many people in my situation that don't believe dreams are possible," McKenzie said.
Her dream has been to walk the runway during New York Fashion Week. This weekend that dream becomes a reality but she won't be walking. She can't. Instead, she'll take to the runway in her wheelchair.
Tae has a rare form of epilepsy that causes strokes. It's been a lifelong battle that took a dramatic turn in 2011 when she was just 27 years old. She got to work but couldn't remember her passwords, her hands weren't moving and she was slurring her speech. She was suffering a massive stroke.
"I was in a coma for a few days and my life completely changed," McKenzie said.
When she woke up she couldn't talk, couldn't walk and lost about 80-percent of her memory.
"To have children's books in front of you and you have to learn to count again," Tae said. "It's scary."
In case it's not clear, though, she's a fighter who's guided by faith.
"You have to let people see how good God is. That's why you fight your way back because you've got to let Him see His victory in you," McKenzie said.
With that determination, she hit the gym. She regained movement in her upper body and she realized that she wasn't ready to hang up her high heels yet. It hasn't been easy. Tae had trouble finding photographers and makeup artists that wanted to work with her. But from one opportunity came another. And then another.
All of them leading her to one of the biggest fashion stages in the world.
"It's shocking," she said. "It still hasn't sunk in yet."
Tae hopes her story inspires others.
"There's nothing you can't do. Doctors may say one thing, but God is always the final say," she said.
Tae doesn't know if she'll ever be able to walk again, but she remains hopeful and says she'll never give up trying. Her message to young girls in her position: keep the faith, believe, be beautiful and be you.
The designer she'll be wearing is Talisha White. She focuses on prom and pageant dresses. NBC Charlotte reached out to White, who issued the following statement:
"The mission of my brand has always been to change the world one stitch at a time. As someone who designs prom and pageant gowns, I know those dresses alone aren't going to do that. However, I am confident that the women who wear them will. That's why I always want real women to model my dresses, the real women who will go into a store and fall in love with their dream gown for their high school prom or that moment they win Miss America, or whatever their special occasion is. So often does the fashion industry display one type of woman, the industry is slowly changing and we are glad to be part of that change."