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Catherine in her Avantgarde with Ottobock SHAPE Custom Seating
Real Life Stories

Catherine's Avantgarde Story.

Fun lover makes a statement and shows off her vibrant personality in a bright orange wheelchair.
Fun lover makes a statement and shows off her vibrant personality in a bright orange wheelchair.

Catherine 30, from Buckinghamshire loves to stand out with bright colours to show her bubbly personality and sense of fun and wanted a customisable wheelchair that could keep up with her social activities and enable her to live life to the full.

Catherine in her Avantgarde manual wheelchair with Ottobock SHAPE Custom Seating

Catherine was born with cerebral palsy and global developmental delay. Up until the age of 12 she was able to walk until she contracted a virus which is believed to have caused a Guillain-Barre type syndrome. Catherine endured a 6 month stay in hospital in the ICU and the effects of the syndrome left her with quadriplegia.

For Catherine, her wheelchairs not only give her a sense of freedom but also ensure she has the right support so that her posture is correctly supported which helps to reduce any pain or discomfort when she is in her chair.

With her previous wheelchair coming to the end of its life, Catherine’s mother Bridget, was recommended to the Ottobock Custom Seating solutions. The clinical seating specialists use pioneering computer aided 3D SHAPE capturing technology to create a proactive solution with the focus being on maximising comfort, function and posture. SHAPE Seating Systems are the only solution for patients with complex needs as the design and accessories can be fully customised to suit the needs of the user.

Following an assessment, a moulded seat was precisely carved out to create the best posture for Catherine. “She looks very comfortable and is no longer slipping to one side,” said Bridget.

Bridget wanted a frame that would be slimline and lightweight so that she could easily manoeuvre Catherine around the house as well as in town and on country walks, whilst Catherine wanted a chair that she could personalise and make a statement in.

They decided on the super lightweight Avantgarde due to its incredible diversity and flexible range of configuration possibilities. The lightweight frame starts from only 5.6kg, making it the lightest folding wheelchair on the market. “It’s very easy to push the chair, I often just use one hand,” said Bridget. “Catherine loves to spend time with the horses in the field by our house and even on the rough terrain it’s easy to push her there.”

Now in it’s 4th generation, the Avantgarde provides everything from structured everyday routines to recreational activities or travel to remote countries. The product range consists of several models and the single crossbrace feature results in significantly lower weight while maintaining a high load capacity of 100kg. With a folding size of just 27 centimetres it makes the perfect travel companion.

Catherine enjoyed personalising her chair and took full creative licence to make her chair unique to her. “She picked a beautiful bright orange colour for the frame and seat and added finishing touches with matching handrims and footplates. She loves bright things and this really shows off her vibrant personality, she looks great in it!” commented Bridget.

Catherine has certainly been making the most of her nimble new chair, enjoying trips to the theatre and meals out at restaurants. “She recently celebrated her 30th birthday and we went out for brunch and bowling with the family.” Bridget added; “Having a chair that can move easily into tight spaces means it’s one less thing to consider when planning our days out and we can spend more time enjoying it as a family.”

The future is definitely bright for Catherine!