The War Amps was founded in 1918 by Canadian amputee veterans returning from the First World War with the philosophy of amputees helping amputees.
Over the past 100 years, the organization has grown from assisting war amputees – whom they still serve – to all amputees, including children.
“CHAMPS is a program within the War Amps that helps kids across Canada by helping fund recreational limbs as well as other limbs and devices they might need to live full and rewarding lives, as well as veterans across the country who may need some supports and assistance,” Jennah Stavroff, the War Amps Regional Representative in B.C. said.
Stavroff lost her left leg to cancer as a child, and was enrolled in CHAMPS. She’s proud of the hugely important work the organization performs.
“The War Amps is really uniquely Canadian. There is no organization like this anywhere else in the world,” said Stavroff. “They also do annual seminars so families can get support and meet each other.”
Born a right arm amputee, 11-year-old Marin Piasentin was enrolled in the War Amps Child Amputee (CHAMP) Program at a very young age.
“It’s awesome to have friends who you can relate to more than other people because they have similar challenges,” says young Piasentin.
Marin’s mother Chantelle Piasentin is grateful for all the support the War Amps and the CHAMP program offers.
“They’ll help you come together, and spend some time together, and help the CHAMPS to learn from each other,” she said.
“It’s a really good family of amputees helping amputees, and their families working together to give each other encouragement, to offer words of advice and lots of support. So if you meet some other families that are doing the same activities or who might have a new activity to suggest to you, then that can be really encouraging,” she added.
One of the huge fundraisers for the organization is the War Amps key tag program.
“If you ever lose your keys, the War Amps will get a local private courier to pick up your keys and deliver them back to your home free of charge” explains Stavroff. “The donations we receive from people who appreciate the key tag service is really what helps fund the prosthetics for kids.”
“It’s because of the war amps she can do things like gymnastics, and swimming, and play an instrument. Under Pharmacare, you can get a limb, but you can’t necessarily get all the recreational devices you need to do an activity, so the key tags help to fund these devices so that we can live a normal life, and do activities that all kids do,” added Chantelle Piasentin.
Key tags will be mailed out on Jan. 22.
The War Amps, and all the families helped through the organization, are grateful for support of the program.