As 2019 comes to an end and a new year is set to begin, 15-year-old Hannah Trimble of Quesnel looks back with appreciation on the support she has received from the War Amps after a year that saw her step up into a mentorship role.
Trimble was born a left arm amputee and, as a member of the War Amps Child Amputee (CHAMP) Program, she is eligible for financial assistance for the cost of artificial limbs and recreational devices.
Trimble also attends 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.
“Connecting with other Champs is very important to me, and I have been attending seminars since I was a toddler,” Trimble said in a press release. “This year, I was a Junior Counsellor at the Seminar, so I was able to pass on practical advice and personal insight to younger child amputees.”
This year’s CHAMP Seminar, held in mid-March, had the theme “Just the Way I Am.” In addition to focusing on the latest in artificial limbs, the seminar encouraged Champs to embrace their amputation and overcome hurdles on the road to independence.
“It was fun because I got to be the mentor for the little Champs, like the Junior Counsellors were role models for me,” Trimble said in a recent telephone interview. “And we got more involved in the organization and got to go to different sessions than we would go to if we were just Champs. We got to experience all the different age groups, and we got to be there a day earlier.”
Trimble says the CHAMP Seminar is educational but fun too.
“This year, the theme was ‘Just the Way I Am,’ which is about not hiding your amputation,” she said. “That was kind of nice because it was kind of educational, and you could also have some fun with it too.”
It means a lot to Trimble to get a chance to be a Junior Counsellor at the CHAMP Seminar.
“What it means to me to be a role model is if younger Champs have questions, they can go to the Junior Counsellors,” she said. “We’re teaching them not to hide it, that it’s OK to have an amputation. We also get to meet new people that we wouldn’t get to meet if we were just Champs, which is kind of nice, because you have both perspectives.”
Trimble has been in War Amps since she was born and has been going to CHAMP Seminars since she was little.
Trimble had a prosthetic arm until she decided she didn’t like it anymore about five years ago, and she says she received financial aid for that prosthetic through the Warm Amps and their Key Tag service.
The War Amps entered its second century of service this year. The organization’s origins trace back to Sept. 23, 1918, when the Amputation Club of British Columbia held its first meeting. It was the first of many groups of war amputees across Canada to organize and, eventually, amalgamate into a national organization, according to the War Amps website.
Amputee veterans envisioned a fraternal society where they could help each other adapt to their new reality and advocate for seriously disabled veterans, and in its constitution, the War Amps identified a threefold purpose: to bring their case to the Canadian government; to help amputees with retraining and rehabilitation; and to explore and initiate research into the little-known world of artificial limbs, according to the website.
“The War Amps receives no government grants, but with the public’s continued support of the Key Tag and Address Label Service, our vital programs for amputees will carry on long into the future,” Danita Chisholm, executive director of the CHAMP Program, said in a press release.
For more information about the War Amps, visit waramps.ca.