Ambassador Jana Starkova

28. 8. 2023

Mgr. Jana Stárkova has become our first female ambassador for Libella products. A few months ago, we met for the first time during the fitting of the Libella Seat Varia cushion, and we hit it off both professionally and personally. Jana has a rare condition called CMT (Charcot Marie Tooth) and has been in a wheelchair almost since childhood. Before our paths officially merged into a partnership, she gladly worked with us on a case study published in the newsletter of the Muscular Dystrophy Association of the Czech Republic. 

Jana is a woman with a big smile and an even bigger heart. She is an active floorball player, full of positive energy, a gardening enthusiast, and her Libella Seat Varia cushion has become a favorite in her entire household, even beloved by her cherished cat.

Hello Jana, we would like to officially introduce you to our small Libella family as our first FEMALE ambassador. Could you briefly introduce yourself, tell us something about your diagnosis, and how long have you been in a wheelchair?

Hello, everyone. My name is Jana. :) The realization that something was wrong with me came shortly after I started walking following my first birthday. My toenails on my big toes grew in too often – an improper angle of the foot. Then there were various speculations and diagnoses until it was determined to be HSMN – neuropathy, now included under CMT. The disease gradually worsens, leading to complete paralysis from the peripheries of the limbs. I've been in a wheelchair since I was nine years old. Today, I can't manage much on my own without assistance. However, I strive to live an active life, and I've been playing electric wheelchair floorball for 14 years now. Gardening on my terrace has also captured my interest. I studied Psychosocial Sciences at the Husitská Theological Faculty and worked for two years in a nursing home. Currently, I'm not working, but I might return to work as an activation worker at some point.

And how did you actually get involved with Libella?

I learned about Libella's cushion from my partner, who is also in a wheelchair. Moreover, my partner is a person of short stature, so he generally encounters problems with companies not offering suitable sizes for him in their products. Libella managed to provide a solution, and he is satisfied with the cushion. He chose the Libella Seat Varia cushion. Right from the start, I was impressed by the design of the cushion, which consists of several layers, is easily disassembled, and can be completely washed. Since this is not possible with any of the cushions offered by other companies, I decided to try it out as well.

"Life is a ride, and that's why I have wheels." — Jana Stárková

That's great to hear that, based on your friend's positive recommendation, you got to know each other and now spend more time together. What is your favorite product, and how does it make your life easier?

I have the Libella Seat Varia cushion for my electric wheelchair. I had a problem with my original cushion as it couldn't keep my relaxed thighs together, and my legs kept falling sideways off the footrest. The typical seat correction offered by the manufacturer would have made it impossible for me to transfer from the electric wheelchair to the manual one, which is already quite complicated for me. Your cushion is so versatile that it can handle this as well. Apart from comfortable seating that at least somewhat dampens the shocks from riding on uneven surfaces, the thigh support and overall seat leveling are the most significant benefits for me.

We are thrilled to hear that. Our main idea is to help where other products fall short.If you had the opportunity to develop any aid for people with disabilities, what would it be?

That's a tough question because everyone has a different disability and would need something different. For myself, I would say a robotic arm. At least one arm with a grip would be really useful for me. A hovering wheelchair would also solve many problems with barriers. (laughs) Nothing realistic comes to mind at the moment. :)

A hovering wheelchair is a fantastic idea, and if it were within our power to develop such a product, you can be sure we would do it immediately. Thank you, Jana, for having such trust in us and for representing us.

I thank you, and I look forward to what we will come up with together. (laughs)

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