Local man with cerebral palsy designs and sells t-shirts - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Local man with cerebral palsy designs and sells t-shirts

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UMATILLA, WA - The Bling Wheelman: that's what some call him, and he's on a mission to sell t-shirts despite being diagnosed with cerebral palsy. But there's something unique about how these t-shirts are made.

"His mind is very active... he's there," said Laurie Ellis, Adan's caretaker. "He's just basically trapped in this body."

A man on a mission - despite being stuck in a wheelchair.

"He doesn't let it stop him," Ellis said. "Even when I was in Australia, he called me more than anyone else. Granted he can't talk, but he called me more than anyone else."

An inseparable bond: Ellis is Adan's mentor and former teacher, and their relationship goes way back.

"First grade, second - what grade were you in? Kindergarten."

More recently, Ellis has made it her mission to help Adan sell his t-shirts... and for Ellis, they're not just any shirt.

"It represents his life and a lot of other people as well," she explained. "Everything he does is on an iPad or the iPhone. He uses the basic wheelchair shape and then he uses his own colors and shapes, he designs it."

The use of his knuckle goes beyond the designs of his iPad, but it gives him words when his body can't.

"I am living my life as a prison in my own body," Adan said. "It doesn't communicate with me. This can be frustrating because I am not handicap in my mind. I am super smart with technology because I love learning about technology and programs. I hate asking people for money, and that's why I have my business in selling t-shirts. Anyways, if people like supporting me, then please buy my t-shirt."

And Adan's hope in selling these t-shirts?

"He wanted to earn enough money to buy a wheelchair van," says Ellis. "He could get out more and have more of a social life."

His abilities would go beyond this one-way street.

Adan has an Etsy shop online called The Wheelman Designs. If you would like to support his t-shirts in hopes of getting him a new wheelchair van, you can head on over to his website here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheWheelmanDesigns?ref=shop_sugg

He will also be selling his shirts at the Watermelon Festival next month.