By Martine Lepine
What began as an Association to assist war amputee veterans returning from the First World War has expanded over the years from assisting war amputees — whom they still serve today — to all amputees, including children.
Julian Telfer Wan, 26, was born a left hand amputee and grew up in The War Amps Child Amputee (CHAMP) Program which provides financial assistance for artificial limbs and adaptive devices, as well as peer support. Julian also attended regional CHAMP seminars where “Champs” and their parents learn about the latest in artificial limbs, dealing with teasing and bullying, and parenting an amputee child.
“The War Amps support has meant that I’ve been fitted with devices so that I can take part in a variety of activities, such as riding my bike, kayaking, weightlifting and playing the trombone,” says Julian. “They’ve also given me encouragement and the confidence to succeed.”
Ten-year-old Audrey Donohue, born a right arm amputee, was recently fitted with a baseball device. “The device allows Audrey to hold the bat with two hands and swing with more strength and control,” says mom, Meghan. “The support from The War Amps means that Audrey can take part in activities just like any other child.”
The War Amps receives no government grants and its programs are possible through public support of the Key Tag and Address Label Service.
The Key Tag Service was launched in 1946 so that returning war amputee veterans could not only work for competitive wages, but also provide a service to Canadians that would generate funds for the Association’s many programs, including CHAMP. The Key Tag Service continues to employ amputees and people with disabilities, and has returned more than 1.5 million sets of lost keys to their owners.
Each key tag has a confidentially coded number. If you lose your keys, the finder can call the toll-free number on the back of the tag or place them in any mailbox in Canada and The War Amps will return them to you by courier, free of charge.
“We’d like to thank the public for helping to make this service a success,” says War Amps spokesperson Rob Larman, himself a graduate of the CHAMP Program. “Your support funds essential programs for all amputees across Canada, including children and veterans.”
Martine Lepine is communications manager at The War Amps.