ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — While many of us do our best to beat the heat, it can be especially challenging for people with multiple sclerosis. But, local entrepreneurs are seeking to change that.
Thermapparel began as an RIT class project to improve lives. Now, it’s a local company that helps people who have trouble regulating their body temperature.
“A lot of people actually have what we call heat sensitivity, and they don’t even realize they have it due to side effects from medications,” said Kurtis Kracke, Thermapparel’s co-founder and CEO.
The sensitivity can render people unable to do regular tasks in warm weather. For people with MS, this can mean 70 to 80 degree days.
“They were not being able to get out of their house and even go to the Wegmans, or even go to the end of the driveway and get their mail without collapsing,” said Kurtis Kracke.
At RIT, Kurtis Kracke and his co-founder, Bradley Dunn, worked for two semesters with a team to solve the issue.
“We thought, ‘well there’s got to be some sort of solution to help with this problem,'” said Kracke.
The solution was using a mixture that freezes below 70 degrees, so it’s safe on users’ skin for long periods of time.
Marketing director Julia Kracke has been with the company since it’s founding in 2016. She said the most valuable parts of her job is hearing how peoples lives have improved.
“That is one of the best parts of my job. Hearing the stories that come in from our customers,” said Julia Kracke.
But, Julia said the product has helped her from getting heat fatigue day-to-day as well.
“I’ve done a double mastectomy and I’ve had a complete hysterectomy, so I don’t have my ovaries anymore. I have a really hard time regulating my body temperature,” said Julia Kracke.
Kurtis Kracke says what keeps him going is being able to impact so many people.
“It’s incredible. It’s why we’re here and why we keep doing it,” said the co-founder.
Thermapparel has partnered with numerous non-profit organizations including the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to help individuals in need of a vest to gain access.
They also have partnered with the MS Fitness Challenge to help build a community where people with MS can share their stories and bond with a community.