COLORADO SPRINGS — 19-year-old Victoria Olson is hoping to represent those with chronic illness as the new cover model of Inked Magazine.
Olson says after being diagnosed with a number of illnesses at the age of 15, it was challenging to find a role model with similar conditions.
I didn’t really have anyone to look up to because I didn’t know much about you know, any of it,” Olson said.
Olson was diagnosed with gastroparesis and Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome.
“It’s so difficult to digest food and a lot of people with gastroparesis, they can lose weight super fast because we’re not getting the nutrition that we need because we can’t even process it,” Olson said.
She’s also been on a feeding tube for the past three years and has to be on it for 20 hours a day.
“I kind of look at my feeding tube as kind of like an enhancement,” Olson added.
Olson says her message to others is to not limit yourself and live the life you want.
It’s something her mother says she’s always done since being diagnosed.
“She pushes and pushes every day and even with a feeding tube, with a port, you’re still beautiful. You know, you can still be who you are, you don’t have to stay in your room and hide you know, it makes you unique,” said Sherry Slusarczyk, Olson’s mother.
If chosen as Ink’s Magazine’s next cover model at the of April, Olson will win $25-thousand dollars, which says will go towards medical expenses and pursuing her dreams.
“Your illness doesn’t have to define you. You can still do what you want in life. Like, yeah maybe it will take you longer, or you’re going to be tired today and you’re not going to feel like doing anything. Take the steps to get where you want to be,” Olson said.