“Despite having MS, doing nothing was – and still is – just not me. Those wheels allowed me to go out and about again.”
My name is Linda, currently 35 years old and living in Heemskerk (NL). In 2002 I was being examined because of deterioration of sight in my left eye, this is when I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. And then it slowly also started to take more effort to walk. At some point, walking long distances was no longer an option. This is why I got a wheelchair in 2007. This was a large, cumbersome device that I really needed to get used to, but it was such a relief that I didn’t always need to walk anymore. Those wheels allowed me to go out and about again, because despite having MS, doing nothing was – and still is – just not me. Over the years my condition has changed to such a degree that I can only make a few steps and am now completely dependent on my wheelchair.
“I thought that I needed to learn to live with the down sides of this gel cushion if I wanted to sit with less pain. I didn’t know alternatives existed.”
The wheelchair cushion in my first chair was made of foam. My bottom however turned out to be quite sensitive for pressure ulcers and this resulted in me often having pain whilst sitting. The foam cushion therefore got replaced by a gel cushion. It was really heavy and my bottom started sweating a lot, but I thought that I needed to learn to live with the down sides of this gel cushion if I wanted to sit with less pain. I didn’t know alternatives existed.
At work I became friends with a colleague who was also in a wheelchair. She had a couple of years more experience in making her way around ‘wheelchair life’ and through her I learned that there are many options when it comes to wheelchairs and other aids. The wheelchair and cushion that get prescribed to you, are not always the versions that fit you – as an individual – best. She taught me that it is worthwhile to do some research and look at more options. With a solid substantiation and some personal effort you can influence which aids you get. As a result I now have a wheelchair that is a much better fit and makes it easier to move around.
“On the Vicair cushion the pain that I sometimes still had disappeared. The sweating also seemed to stop instantly.”
In 2012 I visited the ‘Supportbeurs’ in Utrecht for the first time, together with my friend. We went there with the goal to just get an idea of what is out there for people in a wheelchair. There we also passed the Vicair stand and I got into a conversation with Carlos. He proposed testing a Vicair cushion, just to experience what it was like. I tried a Vicair Vector and I instantly felt like I was sitting properly. I actually didn’t really want to get off it anymore! I suppose it’s not hard to guess what my next cushion was going to be…
What I really liked about the Vicair Vector is that it is precontoured, my knees no longer collapsed towards each other and I felt that I had a very stable seating posture. On the Vicair cushion the pain that I sometimes still had disappeared. The sweating also seemed to stop instantly. Another benefit was that this cushion is super lightweight, which made it easier to lift my wheelchair in and out of my car. I was a dedicated Vicair-fan from day 1.
“I think it’s important to make other wheelchair users aware of the options that are available to them. This is how I hope to contribute to their independence and self-sufficiency.”
I stayed in touch with Vicair and because of my enthusiasm about their wheelchair cushion they asked me to come along to events like the Supportbeurs in the Netherlands and the Rehacare in Germany. They also asked me to participate in photoshoots for campaigns. I kind of became a Vicair Ambassador and I’m proud of that. Besides the fact that I fully support this product, it also allows me to get in touch with other wheelchair users. I think it’s important to make other wheelchair users aware of the options that are available to them. This is how I hope to contribute to their independence and self-sufficiency.
Next to my other job, I also have been working Thursdays at Vicair for a couple of years now and this meant that I got to experience the development of a new Vicair cushion up close: the Vicair Active, nowadays the Vicair Active O2. That’s the cushion I’m sitting on now. The Vicair Active O2 is extra breathable and has a precontoured piece of foam at its front. To me that feels nicely firm for my thighs, it also gives me extra stability and support when I make transfers. Another added benefit? This cushion can be washed super easily!
“I’m trying to stay as mobile and active as possible despite my MS. The Vicair Active O2 wheelchair cushion helps me in keeping up my active lifestyle.”
As I mentioned before, sitting around doing nothing is not me. I’m trying to stay as mobile and active as possible despite my MS. I work over 32 hours per week, go to my physiotherapist 5 times per week and am an active member of the participation board of the city council in Heemskerk to help improve accessibility in the area. I also try to see as much of the world as possible by travelling. The Vicair Active O2 wheelchair cushion helps me in keeping up my active lifestyle, because it allows me to sit without effort. It also makes it easier to make transfers and the cushion protects my skin so I can sit carefree. This allows me to put all my precious energy into my other activities.