Theresa Roemer, 52, arrived in this world six weeks early. She spent her childhood battling four cases of rheumatic fever, which resulted in the heart murmur she has today. It would be fair to say her survival skills started in the womb. The poor health of her early years inspired her to lead a healthy lifestyle, working hard to take care of her body and dedicating her resources to help those less fortunate.
Roemer’s health struggles and the loss of many family members such as her brother, who died at 23 from a massive heart attack, inspired her career in fitness. She said that she not only wanted to remain healthy herself, but also wanted to assist others with their fitness goals.
“I don’t sit around and eat Bonbons and feel sorry for myself. I truly feel that our time is limited on this earth and that I need to make the most of my days. I can’t imagine life without helping people,” Roemer shared.
People might look at Roemer’s collection of designer duds, which are housed in a three-story, 3,000 square-foot closet, complete with champagne bar – that she uses to host fundraising events – and think she’s like other fashion-forward socialites – out of touch with reality and solely focused on her next shopping venture. One glance at her resume, however, and it’s clear that she has a passion for helping others.
Her 19-year-old son died in a car accident seven years ago. Roemer attributed her strength to dealing with his death to her faith, but stressed that it wasn’t an easy road.
“It felt like I’d been ripped apart. I was extremely angry with God. It’s been baby steps. [You] pray to God to get you through one hour at a time without crying. Time softens it,” she recalled.
Roemer describes herself as “a jack of all trades,” understandably so.
As a philanthropist, she serves as board member for Child Legacy International, a member of the Circle of Red for the America Heart Association and has been an ambassador for the Texas Children’s Hospital since 2008.
As an entrepreneur, she is CEO of Theresa Roemer, LLC, co-owner of Roemer Oil, a real estate agent, a fitness trainer, author, motivational speaker and youth mentor.
All this, in addition to being a grandmother, mom and a wife – the responsibilities most dear to her heart.
Roemer has earned many accolades. At the age of 40, she earned the U.S. Open title in bodybuilding. In 2010, she was crowned Mrs. Houston U.A., Mrs. Texas U.A., and the 1st runner up for Mrs. United America – concurrently.
At 50, she climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in a fundraising effort for Child Legacy International. The trip brought on unforeseen illness despite her physical prowess. Roemer suffered from a parasitic infection and high-altitude sickness. Her symptoms included disorientation, a fever of 104 degrees and retinal hemorrhaging.
“Statistically, there’s no reason I should have survived,” she said, adding that she is alive because “God knows my work here is not yet done.”
She credited her determination for going through with the mountaineering experience. “No, I’m not a climber. No, I don’t camp. I was totally out of my realm,” she admitted.
Roemer said she had made a promise to climb if her friends would support her fundraising efforts and she intended to follow through.
“Have you ever been so focused on something that you’re not going to go home a loser? I had that ‘eye of the tiger,’” Roemer said. Supporters donated $100,000 to the charity.
Her drive to do for others and her love of fashion stem from a childhood of poverty. As an adult, Roemer prides herself on putting her best foot forward to inspire others.
She’s known for her unique fundraising tactics. “You’ve got to think outside the box,” Roemer said.
Roemer recently hosted The Roemer Holiday Opener where she invited 200 people to dinner, complete with entertainment and a fashion, at no cost for admission. The result: $60,000 was raised for the American Heart Association in three hours.
“I didn’t want to put a cap on it. I wanted the guests to enjoy a spectacular evening free [so they would be inspired by the cause and donate]. They were blown away,” Roemer explained.
This fall will mark the launch of her clothing line that will feature styles that “all women can wear.” Roemer said she wants to “take the thinking out of the closet” so women can just get up and go without the added stress of finding an outfit to wear.
A resident of The Woodlands in Texas, she is also working to preserve the artistic sculptures there and in the surrounding areas to ensure the pieces remain standing for years to come.
When asked what she hoped her legacy would be, Roemer responded, “To be that I never gave up and that I always helped everyone. [That] I’ve had one hell of a life – that I did it all.”
She emphasized that anyone can help those in need. She said, “Give a dollar at a time. You don’t have to be rich or be a millionaire. Everybody is willing to take a dollar whether it’s a dollar at the grocery store or a few dollars that you throw in the church plate.”
The most important piece of advice Roemer has to offer: “I think you have to rely on faith [in God] to get you through life. Unless you have faith, you’re facing an uphill battle.”