Physical challenges will never stop her creativity
Marteen Moore, owner of Marteen Moore Interior Design, grew up surrounded by French culture, art and athletics. Born and raised in Southern California, her French maternal grandmother helped to raise the family of seven and every summer Moore would vacation with her grandmother in France; developing a love for architecture and design.
As a child, she was always active, learning to swim before age 3 and participating in dance, gymnastics, snow skiing, water skiing, hiking, and tennis.
“In college I would run from three to 10 miles a day,” she said. “I started doing triathlons and marathons, and a series of smaller races. The biggest race I ever participated in was a half Ironman including a one-mile swim, 64-mile bike ride and 10-mile run. I lifted weights, did Pilates and yoga.”
Moore envisioned her destiny as an artist and attended Stephens College in Missouri. After graduation, her father (founder and owner of the Fisher Space Pen) moved his business to Boulder City, Nev. and Moore followed to work with him on different projects while continuing her art career. Eventually, Moore returned to school to study design and open her own design firm in 1988. She also got married and started a family.
“I specialize in large custom homes from the ground up; working with the client and architect to make sure each room is optimized to the client’s needs and desires.” She has worked with celebrities including Robert DeNiro while he was shooting the movie “Casino” and the MTV reality show, “Real World Las Vegas.”
Everything changed for Moore in 2000 when she began to experience loss of control over her legs. Her doctors began testing for a diagnosis but were unable to find the cause. On September 11, 2001, she woke up unable to move. After more testing, the diagnosis was a tumor on her thoracic vertebrae and emergency surgery was performed. Although benign, it took Moore about one year to recover with 90 percent use of her legs returning. While she could work, lift weights, swim and walk fast; she had to quit running and biking.
In 2006, the tumor returned. After three more operations, Moore returned home to spend time with her dying father and young children.
“I grew sicker and sicker and now was on IV antibiotics. My spine started to fall off the metal I had from my lower back to the middle of my chest. I found an excellent surgeon in Santa Monica, Calif. who said he could save my life but probably not my legs. I had no choice. My children were still young and I was a single mother, so I went for it,” she said. “I had to have three more surgeries, and was able to walk until the last one. I was then paralyzed from my chest down with metal from my neck to my tailbone.”
While she was in rehabilitation, Reggie Bennett, the director of the nonprofit organization R.A.G.E (Rebuilding All Goals Efficiently), and a female mentor, who uses a wheelchair, reached out to Moore and helped her to learn to live independently, continue working and maintain a workout regimen.
“They helped me to understand that a spinal cord injury is not a death sentence. They helped me modify my house and learn to drive so I could be independent. I joined their team by volunteering on the board of directors, mentoring and giving support to newly spinal cord injured patients. When possible, I help with fundraising. It is a wonderful organization that does a lot of good in this community.”
Moore’s advice for everyone is, “Follow your heart and dreams. Don’t let anything get you down and always believe in yourself and your vision.” Moore lives this philosophy everyday as a Fearless Female.