A true CHAMP-MP meet­ing in south­west Al­berta

Prairie Post (West Edition) - - Alberta - BY HEATHER CAMERON

On Au­gust 17, lo­cal south­west Al­berta CHAMP Shelby Smith pre­sented MP Rachel Harder with a com­mem­o­ra­tive en­ve­lope cel­e­brat­ing the 100th an­niver­sary of the War Amps that the As­so­ci­a­tion’s long his­tory and in­no­va­tive pro­grams.

The War Amps was started in 1918 by World War I veter­ans who be­came am­putees as the re­sult of the war.

They started the or­ga­ni­za­tion to help each other adapt to life with am­pu­ta­tions. The as­so­ci­a­tion has since grown to as­sist all war am­putees, in­clud­ing chil­dren.

“It was a great ex­pe­ri­ence; Rachel is such an amaz­ing woman,” Smith said. “I pre­sented it to her it was like we al­ready met. We dis­cussed the pro­gram and how it has helped me get ev­ery­thing I need to meet my per­sonal life goals and how it has done so much for other young and old am­putees.”

Smith, age 17, was born a right hand am­putee, and was en­rolled in The War Amps Child Am­putee (CHAMP) Pro­gram, shortly af­ter her birth.

CHAMP, Smith said, has pro­vided fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance to­wards the cost of ev­ery­day ar­ti­fi­cial limbs and recre­ational de­vices for fit­ness like a tum­bler de­vice; de­vices for sports such as swim­ming and bas­ket­ball; de­vices for play­ing gui­tar mu­sic; and more. Smith says that ar­ti­fi­cial limbs are a heavy fi­nan­cial bur­den to a lot of fam­i­lies, es­pe­cially due to the fact that such limbs are reg­u­larly out­grown.

“The Child Am­putee (CHAMP) Pro­gram en­cour­aged me and my fam­ily to ac­cept my am­pu­ta­tion and de­velop a pos­i­tive ap­proach to chal­lenges,” Smith said.

Over the years, Smith has at­tended also at­tended an­nual CHAMP sem­i­nars, which bring to­gether child am­putees and their par­ents.

The sem­i­nars fo­cus on the lat­est de­vel­op­ments in ar­ti­fi­cial limbs; is­sues such as teas­ing and bul­ly­ing; and other top­ics such as par­ent­ing a child am­putee.

“Sem­i­nars have a life-chang­ing ef­fect on Champs and their par­ents as they meet oth­ers just like them and de­velop a pos­i­tive at­ti­tude,” Smith said. “War Amps is such a great pro­gram that has helped so many of us am­putees with ev­ery­thing from day to day ac­tiv­i­ties all the way to help­ing kids get the sup­port and com­mu­nity to help them be con­fi­dent and com­fort­able when peo­ple ask or stare. I am so ex­cited to be a part of this pro­gram and how much it has to of­fer.”

Photo con­trib­uted

South­west Al­berta “Champ” presents MP Rachael Harder with com­mem­o­ra­tive en­ve­lope cel­e­brat­ing War Amps 100th an­niver­sary – Shelby Smith, 17, of Leth­bridge, pre­sented MP Rachael Harder with a Canada Post com­mem­o­ra­tive en­ve­lope which cel­e­brates The War Amps 100th an­niver­sary. The en­ve­lope re­flects the As­so­ci­a­tion’s long his­tory and in­no­va­tive pro­grams through pho­tos and text.

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