24-year-old Marni Smyth from Huddersfield is dreaming of a successful career in the fashion and textile industry thanks in part to her Paravan Piccolino powerchair from Precision Rehab.
Marni was born with Type 2 Spinal Muscular Atrophy and has been using powered wheelchairs from the age of 3. “Until I was about 3, I would use a manual wheelchair as I could still walk supported but this started to deteriorate, we knew I would need to start using a wheelchair on a permanent basis and it would have to a be powered version as I did not have the strength to self-propel” explains Marni.
Over the last 21 years, Marni has had numerous powerchairs from several manufacturers. When it was time for Marni’s latest chair – a Balder, to be retired due to old age, she was dreading finding a replacement as she was concerned about finding a chair which would meet all her requirements. However, when she met Matt from Precision Rehab all her concerns disappeared.
“From my first conversation with Matt, his powerchair knowledge combined with his obvious passion for helping his clients immediately put me at ease and instilled a feeling of complete confidence. Sitting in a new powerchair is like test driving a new car – you instantly know if you like it even if it is going to need some modifications to meet your requirements, and as soon as I sat in the Piccolino I knew it was the perfect chair for me as it was so easy to control and felt so comfortable” continued Marni.
During Marni’s assessments, Matt discussed all the options available from seating and controls to paint finish, and six months after Marni’s final assessment Matt was back in Huddersfield with her brand new Piccolino powerchair.
Marni’s bespoke chair features several modifications including a specially moulded seat to ensure it was a perfect fit for her and she could reach the controls with ease. The height of the seat back was raised slightly and Matt also arranged for additional backrest supports to further support Marni’s hips and balance. Marni also asked for the body shape of the chair to be trimmed so it resembled the streamline shape of her previous chairs and for the paint finish to match her favourite nail varnish!
“Some companies seem to think the person should fit the chair but Precision Rehab firmly believes the chair should fit the person which is so refreshing. The Piccolino is just amazing and without doubt the best chair I have ever had and for me, one of the best features is the sliding seat as many of the tables at university have not been designed to accommodate wheelchair or powerchair users as there is not enough room underneath to allow me to sit close to the edge. However, with the sliding seat on the Piccolino I simply slide the seat forward to the desk and start my work in comfort. I am incredibly grateful to Matt and Precision Rehab as I never thought I would find such an amazing chair but thanks to Matt and the rest of the team I now have a chair which is not only as good as my previous chairs but even better”.
As anyone living with SMA Type 2 will know, back pain can be a very common side effect of the condition. The adjustable leg rests on the Piccolino allow Marni to change the position of her legs which in turn helps to alleviate her back pain while the tilt in space not only helps Marni with her balance but also means her carer Naomi can easily wash her hair as Naomi explains:
“I have been working with Marni for nearly three years now and from my perspective the Piccolino is brilliant. As Marni said, washing her hair is so much easier due to the tilt in space and the design of the chair also makes it very easy to get Marni in and out and we both love the built-in phone charger which we regularly fight over. Matt’s knowledge and compassion is second to none and I would not hesitate in recommending Precision Rehab to other carers and their clients who are looking to purchase a powerchair”.
“We pride ourselves on always going the extra mile for every client and we are delighted to hear how happy Marni and Naomi are with the Piccolino. From getting up in the morning to going to bed at night, our clients spend most if not all day in their powerchair and we believe they should be as comfortable as possible which is why every powerchair we supply is tailored to meet their specific needs. On behalf of everyone here at Precision Rehab I would like to wish Marni the best of luck with her university degree” commented Matthew James, Director, Precision Rehab.