“Now, 6 years later, I am a Paralympic, European and world champion!”
Hi hi, my name is Julia van der Sprong, I am 23 years old and born in Gouda, The Netherlands. When I was 16 years old, I suffered an inflammation of my spinal cord, also called ‘Myelitis Transversa’, which eventually caused a spinal cord injury. From one day to the next day, I could no longer walk. After many hours of rehabilitation, I can walk small distances again, but for the long distances I need my wheelchair. My left side has less sensation and strength from the waist down than my right side, at my buttocks I feel nothing at all.
At the rehabilitation centre, I started looking for a new sport, and that’s where I was introduced to wheelchair basketball. Now, six years later, I am a Paralympic, world and European champion.
"I had been looking for a good wheelchair cushion and a solution for my activities outside the wheelchair for years."
I often suffer from a pressure injury that keeps coming back. With my sports doctors and coaches, I had been looking for a good solution for both my wheelchair cushion as well as for my activities outside the wheelchair for years. Because I can walk short distances and don’t have need my wheelchair all the time, I sometimes encounter situations where I don’t have a good cushion with me that helps preventing pressure injuries. Examples of these situations are: power trainings, dinners, lounging by the pool and travelling by plane or train. I have tried both gel as other air cushions. I found that the gel cushions did not always help me and often leaked, and that the air cushions are not very stable.
“I thought it was ideal to be able to try a Vicair cushion for 3 weeks, as beforehand you don't know if a cushion will suit you well.”
I got to know Vicair through a friend. I used the free trial service (only available in the Netherlands) where I tried the Vicair Active O2 wheelchair cushion. To me it was great to try a cushion for 3 weeks first, because beforehand you don’t know if a cushion will suit you. After the 3 weeks, I was actually sad to return the cushion because I was so satisfied with it.
I got into contact with an employee of Vicair after the 3-week trial. He suggested me to also try the Vicair Vector O2. This cushion has air cells (SmartCells) in every compartment of the cushion, and with the Active O2 only the back of the cushion is filled with SmartCells and the front is foam. Because I can still move my legs and walk short distances, I don’t always sit ‘properly’ in my chair. Sometimes I sit on the front of my cushion. With the air cells throughout the whole cushion, I can sit any way I want in my wheelchair without having to worry about the pressure injury spot. In addition, the cushion provides me a lot more stability while rolling because you can decide yourself where in your cushion you want more air cells (for example, near your legs). When it’s needed, you can adjust the cushion completely to your sitting position.
"The Vicair AllRounder O2 has really made it possible for me to go through life a bit more carefree again."
I also tried the activity cushion Vicair AllRounder O2. This is a cushion you can use when you are not in the wheelchair. I do not always depend on the wheelchair, so for me this is really a great invention. I unzipped the cushion out of the halter, so I don’t have to attach the cushions to my legs. I then put this cushion of the AllRounder O2 on the seat of the plane for example, I use it at home when I am studying and sit on my desk chair or when I am sitting on the floor during strength training.
The cushion is easy to carry and is not too thick, so you still sit well on a chair. The Vicair AllRounder O2 has really made it possible for me to go through life a bit more carefree again.
After years of searching, I truly have the perfect cushions now.