MANHATTAN, New York City (WABC) -- Alexandra Connell turned her painful and personal experience with disabilities into a new career.
The Columbia University graduate is the founder of "Patti and Ricky," an online store specializing in fashion accessories for unique medical needs. Most of the designers themselves are disabled in some way, too.
Connell's mother, Patti, passed away nearly 10 years ago from cancer. Her cousin Ricky was born unable to walk or talk and died as a teenager. Alex herself battles anxiety, dyslexia and ADHD.
"I think we're all human," Connell said. "In order to come together, we have to remember that."
Connell said every single product curated is with Patti and Ricky in mind because they were such cool people and had such an impact on her life.
Some of her products include fancy arm slings, accessories to spruce up hearing devices, special pouches for wheelchair spokes, fidget rings to help with concentration, decorative eye patches, bracelets engraved with braille and colorful walking canes like the ones her mother used to love.
There's also shirts and jackets with magnetic buttons to make dressing easier for those with mobility or coordination problems.
"I came across items that were stylish and functional, and brought them together to become Patti and Ricky," Connell said.
Connell lives in Denver these days, but as a Columbia graduate whose parents had deep connections to New York's fashion scene, she is hoping her business, less than a year old, continues to serve a unique need and sends an uplifting message.
"Looking professional, sophisticated and beautiful, it makes you feel good, and I think that's really important," Connell said.
CLICK HERE for more information on Patti and Ricky.
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Columbia University grad turns experience with disabilities into fashion line