In the year 2000, Van DiBernardo moved from Manhattan back to his childhood home of Buffalo, New York, where he believed he was returning to die. 

My name is Luanne DiBernardo, and Van -- a former DKNY shoe designer -- is my brother. A diagnosis with Multiple Sclerosis put an end to his career. Where once his work took him to Spain, Italy, France, and Brazil, Van left New York for the last time, completely debilitated.  

Labored years of marginal improvements revealed that a warm room, a hot shower, even generating body heat from physical therapy could set Van back for days, even weeks. Van and I had always been close, so his challenge with heat became my problem to solve.

After purchasing an industrial cooling vest to keep Van cool, he was able to join activities outdoors again without risking the heat. The only problems was the vest itself -- it looked tactical, bulky, and soaked his clothes with condensation. I can still remember the day I slid a sketchbook and graphite pencil across the table and said, "you're a designer; design a cooling vest you wouldn't be embarrassed wearing in public."  

The prototype was a success, but it wasn't enough for Van. His comment -- "why should I be the only one to have this cooling vest?" -- was the comment that launched Coolture, our first company, in 2010. We started generating sales from our website in 2014.

What we failed to learn before opening our doors was that people with compromised health have compromised incomes -- and our cooling vest was not reimbursable by insurance. By 2019, high on innovation but short on capital, we humbly informed the owner of our cut-and-sew shop that we were done. That same day, owner Tom Burns made us an offer we couldn't refuse. And on that same day, we accepted.  

The minute we reorganized as Oro Sports & Safety, the prototyping began -- a new brand and new markets means new products. We have four patents pending, and two more ready to roll in advance of their 2024 launch. 

Where we are today is the culmination of hard work, sacrifice, dedication, and a strong desire to help others. Quality of life is a choice that begins and ends with each of us. Improving quality of life for others is a commitment that, for us, began with Van.