We were thrilled when Karen Darke, British paralympic cyclist, paratriathlete and adventurer contacted Gel Ovations looking for a solution to prevent pressure sores.
As a keen sports and action lover Karen knows only too well about how important it is to look after your body and needs pressure care pads when in her car, kayaking or at the beach.
From a young age Karen was a keen runner, climber and orienteer, but fell off a cliff and became paralysed from the chest down at the age of 21.
Karen’s perseverance and support from friends and family, she has successfully become a full-time athlete with the British Para-Cycling Team. Karen was a silver-medallist in the London 2012 Paralympics and became Paralympic Champion in the Rio 2016 Paralympics.
Karen tells us “As well as spending time on my bike or in my wheelchair I regularly fly to Spain for training or travelling long distances in the car.
As I’m very much in to my sport I enjoy taking on all kinds of sporting activities across the world. I have never suffered from pressure sores and this is mainly because I’ve always been proactive and ensure that I don’t put myself in a position where I could get them.
“A friend recommended Gel Ovations so I contacted them to find out about their products and how they could help me. It was important to me to have confidence in a product to make me comfortable each day.”
James Payne, Director of Gel Ovations recommended our dimensional gel pads to Karen, which are used throughout the NHS for the prevention and treatment of pressure ulcers.
The special gel also improve tissue viability by providing sedentary patients with a soft, cooling layer of protection, and prevents friction and shearing.
Karen uses a large dimensional gel pad on the seat of her car and kayak placing them in the key areas where pressure sores could occur.
Karen said: “I have recently used the Dimensional Gel pads while kayaking and they have been great! I have also used them in the car and on flights. At first I thought they were quite heavy but this proved to be ideal as the weight of them meant they would stay in the same position when on long journeys, preventing any rubbing.
“I also use the dimensional gel pads when I’m at the beach especially sitting on benches, or rough surfaces like walls etc. I also intend to use them when I go to the gym to when I’m benching and to use in other recreation ways.
“With other makes of gel pads I’ve tried, I noticed gel would leak out but this has not been the case with Gel Ovations.
“ I would definitely recommend these dimensional gel pads to others” As well as her sporting life, Karen is a Spinal Injuries Association ambassador. As part of her support for the charity she is undertaking Quest 79, a series of gruelling global adventures. The aim is to increase awareness of the possibilities of life after spinal cord injury and to raise funds to support SIA’s work.