“My wheelchair is not a limitation, it enriches my life”
I’ve always been very active. From a young age I already had many hobbies like playing the saxophone, horse riding and dancing. After my animal care studies, I chose to continue learning and become a Para veterinary. This is a physically demanding job. Back in the day I was very agile, which was perfect for ballet, but by the time I was 22 my body couldn’t bare it anymore. I was diagnosed with patella luxations, meaning that my kneecap dislocated frequently and I had to rehabilitate from this several times. The fear of the luxation happening again really got to me, so in 2014 I decided to have surgery. After 1,5 year I finished rehabilitation and was able to do almost everything again.
“Finally I had everything sorted, but within a month my life was turned upside down”
Everything was sorted and I deleted all hospital and physiotherapist phone numbers from my phone. It felt great! Until a moment five weeks later when a car overlooked me and my bike. In one hit my life was turned upside down. Due to the accident my entire tibea plateau was shattered, that’s the top part of the tibia which is connected to the knee joint. Instead of finally getting started with my dream job in England, I had to live in a hospital for a month and move back in with my mom because I needed care and support to get back on track
“I searched Marktplaats for a wheelchair”
On Facebook I saw a friend who had a broken ankle and was training by herself in a wheelchair. That seemed like a good idea. Via Marktplaats, which is the Dutch version of eBay, I bought a wheelchair. Within 3 months we rolled the Dam-to-Dam walking tour of 20km with a smile on our faces. To my relief I eventually got a wheelchair that was made especially for me. But after sitting in it for a day or doing a round of training – my bum was really sore.
“Now I’m the proud owner of an Vicair Adjuster O2”
At the Supportbeurs in Utrecht I got in touch with Vicair for the first time. A team of nice and helpful people explained the options I had with them and I tried out some cushions at the event. Now, I’m the proud owner of a Vicair Adjuster O2 and it really makes a huge difference. When I exercise in my wheelchair I feel that my energy no longer stops by the seat. Instead of that, I can fully use all my energy and improve my times. The cushion adjusts to the shape of your body and that really makes a difference. No longer a sleeping bum, no more tingling feet or pain.
“My friends are jealous, they also want to take a breather on my cushion”
This year I also went to music festivals in my wheelchair. My friends were pretty jealous of me, they also want to take a breather on my cushion. On my old cushion I wanted to get out of my chair at the earliest opportunity. I no longer feel that need. I can do all activities in my chair: go out for drinks and snacks, exercise – and all that whilst sitting in my own wheelchair with a Vicair cushion. It truly enriches my life and I plan to achieve much more with it.
“My accident is now 2,5 years ago, I went through 6 surgeries, I finally have a good wheelchair with a nice cushion – So I can finally say… life is smiling at me and I can move on”
Emma van Riek, 31 jaar
Pictures by Marye Way