Name: Tom Wells
Condition: Spinal cord injury – permanent paraplegia at T5/T6 vertebral level
Occupation: Hospital doctor – Consultant Medical Oncologist
Tested the wheelAIR: Whilst on holiday to La Gomera in the Canaries
Tom used the wheelAIR for staying cool in the holiday sun. The wheelAIR was put to the test in 28°C heat whilst Tom visited La Gomera with his young family. This is what he had to say about his current challenges with overheating and how the cooling backrest improved his trip.
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Tom’s current challenges with overheating
I cannot sweat below the level of my injury. This means I constantly overheat, which makes me feel very uncomfortable. This is a particular concern when I travel to a warm climate. I find it very difficult to cool down once I get too hot. It stops me from taking part in all the holiday activities I want to, frequently having to stop to seek shade and cool down. This interrupts the flow of the day, so isn’t really an ideal solution.
The memory foam design supports Tom’s back considerably better than his old backrest. Increasing his comfort and ultimately improving his holiday.
Tom’s wheelAIR experience
I used the wheelAIR every day on holiday and my body felt noticeably cooler after using it. I was much more comfortable doing everything that I did and I was able to relax when out in the sunshine. It helped me stay in control because even though I was in the sun, I knew that I was less likely to overheat. Also, I was able to alter the speed of the fan using the hand-held control unit depending on how hot I felt.
The memory foam design supports my back really well and this makes it far more comfortable being in my wheelchair. The wheelAIR is considerably more comfortable than my previous backrest.
I would certainly now consider the wheelAIR to be a holiday essential – especially when going somewhere hot.
Constructive feedback: Attaching the battery unit was tricky using the two plastic clips. This did get easier the more I clipped and unclipped it. Also, it made my wheelchair heavier so I had to unclip the fan box from my chair before transferring to and from my car.
wheelAIR comment: We have taken both of these comments on board and are planning on improving the ease of the clips in version 2. Removing the fan box from the unit is a good solution to making the unit slightly lighter and wheelchair car transfer more manageable. Thanks for sharing, Tom!