Innovative wheelchair backrest cushion allows adaptive athlete to stay cool during summer
A woman has been able to keep cool in her wheelchair during the intense summertime heat in Australia due to the wheelAIR cooling backrest cushion.
38-year-old Natasha Price is an adaptive athlete, entrepreneur, public speaker, author and blogger from the Gold Coast in Australia. She lives with transverse myelitis, type 1 diabetes and gastroparesis.
In 2008, a rare disease, which she was unaware of, left her blind and paralysed almost overnight. Three years later, a relapse left her paralysed from the neck down.
However, she has refused to let this hinder her and in April 2018, Natasha founded InvincAble, an organisation which empowers disabled people to lead fuller, more active lives.
Natasha particularly enjoys wheelchair racing. During her first marathon in July 2018, she was able to race alongside Paralympic champions. This experience led her to the decision to chase future elite athletic dreams.
Although, from periods of training, especially in the summer, Natasha has found herself overheating in her wheelchair.
To help tackle this issue, Natasha trialled out the wheelAIR cooling backrest cushion, which works by reducing the user’s core temperature and taking away any excess moisture.
On using the wheelAIR, Natasha commented: “I’ve had the opportunity to use the WheelAIR not only during my day to day activities but also during gym training sessions and outdoor cross training pushes in my day chair.
“On more than one occasion, I have felt like it was a godsend. During both activities the cooling action of the WheelAIR has significantly extended the length of time I have been able to train for before overheating has become an issue. This is especially important in a place like Queensland, where we have a year round warm climate. Consequently, I achieve a more effective training program at all times of the year.
“I have found the wheelAIR helpful on hot, humid days when I need to focus and get work done at home but the air conditioning isn’t keeping my body temperature regulated. It gives me that extra boost of coolness and allows me to concentrate longer and feel less overwhelmed by the weather.”
Natasha rated the wheelAIR as 8.5/10 for having a cooling effect on her body below 30°C and 5/10 for over 30°C.
She also rated it as having 8.5/10 for overall health benefits, 10/10 for ease of use, 9.5/10 for comfort, 9.5/10 for appearance, and 7/10 for ease of installation.
She added: “I have also found it great on warm nights out with friends, at times when I might otherwise have avoided being outdoors or in a crowded environment because I would have been too hot. For a long time, I would turn down offers of going to bars or evening BBQs due struggling with overheating and it has, at times, sadly led to isolation from friends. It’s nice to be able to join in now. “
Natasha also praised wheelAIR’s appearance, describing it as premium.
“The cushioning makes it extremely comfortable, and it’s breathability just adds to the comfort, particularly in a sub tropical climate like here,” she continued. “I love the little pocket and have used it to store small items that I’d like easy access to. It really does come in handy. The remote control is pretty self explanatory and easy to operate.
“I may not have always been able to physically feel the cooling sensation of the wheelAIR; this has been particularly true on extremely hot, humid and unrelentingly sunny days, however, I can without question say that I feel a little less exhausted and sweaty after time outdoors, even indoors on a high humidity day. This has enabled me to not only be more productive in general but also get more enjoyment out of social activities.
“The wheelAIR really has made a big difference to my life.”