The sport was the key that allowed me to rebuild a completely new life and identity!
Katia Aere is a Paralympic athlete in swimming and para-cycling and one of our new Brand Ambassadors.
Born in Spilimbergo, in the province of Pordenone, in 1971, she turned 50 during the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, where she won her first Paralympic title with a bronze medal in hand cycling, category H5.
Since she was a teenager, she has cultivated a passion for sports, including athletics, obstacle running and high jumping, but she quit due to an ankle problem.
At 30 years old, she encountered disability due to an autoimmune disease that attacked her muscles, destroying them and preventing her from eating and moving independently within a few hours. She started doing sports again almost for necessity: the rehabilitation in the water makes her physically stronger and allows her to breathe better and move almost independently again. She learnt to swim at 40 by overcoming her phobia of water. Then, Katia returned to have an active life through competitive sports and chose swimming as her first sport.
After that, she never stopped, achieving several Italian titles, "incredibly and unexpectedly", she told us.
She firmly believes that things do not happen by chance, and almost by chance, Katia met para-cycling thanks to Alex Zanardi and his Obiettivo3 project. The meeting with him allows her to try the hand bike for the first time, and she felt some unique emotions and sensations.
"Getting on a handbike and feeling the wind on my face after so many years was a feeling I missed."
The results came quickly, confirming that she had made the right choice.
When we asked her about her relationship with the wheelchair, she was honest and said:
"It was the most difficult encounter that pathology has brought. It was difficult at the beginning: from being completely active, in a few hours, to being completely dependent on someone else. Then, thanks to the rehabilitation, I walked againg with crutches only for a few months. However, having an autoimmune and progressive disease, I had to regain my balance with a wheelchair out of necessity."
"It was essential to understand that the wheelchair is an essential tool to regain autonomy, something we often don't comprehend. Once I understood this, my quality of life improved, and the energy saved thanks to the wheelchair, I directed it to other things, including sport."
In a wheelchair, Katia looks for lightness, comfort, support and ease to handle.
She chose the Aria Speciale for these, a wheelchair model with a fully welded fixed magnesium frame made-to-measure to the user's sizes.
In this way, Katia was able to find a wheelchair that meets all her needs:
lightness, Aria Speciale weighs only 3.9 kg;
comfort, like all Aria wheelchairs created from the needs and sizes of the user;
support, provided by the carbon fibre postural backrest;
manoeuvrability, provided by the combination of the three elements above. A manoeuvrable product like the Aria Speciale becomes essential for those who difficulty move their upper limbs.
Learn more about Katia Aere by watching the interview on YouTube!
Follow Katia on social media: Instagram, Facebook
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