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April marks Limb Loss Awareness Month, giving amputees like Rio Manning, age17, of Kelowna, an opportunity to demonstrate that an amputation is not a barrier to living a full and active life.
Manning was born a right hand amputee, and as a member of The War Amps Child Amputee (CHAMP) Program, is eligible for financial assistance for the cost of artificial limbs and adaptive devices.
He also attends regional CHAMP seminars where “Champs” and their parents learn about the latest in artificial limbs, dealing with teasing and staring and parenting an amputee child.
Manning recalls how attending seminars encouraged him to be proud of his amputation.
“I felt really nervous at the first seminar I attended but eventually it just completely went away. It turned into this excitement and realization that these kids are just like me,” he said.
“My amputation doesn’t stop me from being active and I like to show other amputees that they can do anything. I was recently fitted with a device that allows me to lift weights, and which stays securely on my arm.”
Although The War Amps has provided more than 100 years of innovative programs, there is still much to do to ensure amputees have the support they need.
“The Association receives no government grants, but with the public’s continued support, our vital programs for amputees will carry on long into the future,” says Danita Chisholm, Executive Director of the CHAMP Program.