Picture Butte resident and amputee, 18-year-old Jessica Van Schothorst, attended the seminar, which brought together young amputees from across the western provinces.
“It was a really great experience and I was able to meet many parents and children that were dealing with the same sort of things as I was. It was a comfort to know that I wasn’t alone dealing with an amputation, even though I’ve been to seminars previously. It just felt really good to meet all those people all over again,” said the Calvin Christian School graduate, located near Coalhurst.
“When I had my accident the hospital right away set me up with The War Amps and that’s how I became connected with The War Amps,” she added.
A right leg amputee due to a farm accident, Van Schothorst, attended the three-day seminar — where she was shown how to adopt the seminar theme, “Set the Bar High” and not let her amputation be a barrier to living a full and active life.
The seminar focused on the latest developments in artificial limbs, dealing with teasing and bullying and parenting an amputee child.
As a member of CHAMP, Van Schothorst is eligible to receive financial assistance with artificial limbs and recreational devices.
“For me, what they’ve done, is they provided financially prosthetics that otherwise I would not be able to have because the government only provides one a year. I was able to get a sports leg. I can now run. I ran the first day I got it. I was also provided a swimming leg, when previously I would have to go without a leg, which meant there was a higher risk of slipping by the pool and such. Now, I’m free from worrying about that. They also provided great relationships that can last a lifetime with other children that have been in a similar situation. They also provide the opportunity to go on different floats and stuff to bring the message — playing safe and driving safe. What they’ve also done is they’ve given me opportunities to speak about my previous experiences with my accident to schools and at the daycare in Picture Butte, which otherwise I probably would have never done,” said Van Schothorst, who is currently involved in child care at the Bee Hive Childcare Centre in Picture Butte, adding she would love to be on a float during next year’s Calgary Stampede.
CHAMP is funded through public support of The War Amps Key Tag and Address Label Service. For more information, call 1-800-250-3030 or visit waramps.ca.