Pembroke's Megan Mantha is a CHAMP
Five-year-old Megan Mantha, a student at Pembroke's Highview Elementary, was born without a left hand, but thanks to the War Amps CHAMP program she has a myoelectric prosthetic arm and recreational devices that allow her to move and play like all other children. Here she poses with Highview teacher and War Amps supporter Ronald Kaul as she shows off her new Shopkins bike that she can ride thanks to her bike adapter prosthetic.
The War Amps Key Tag Service has been returning lost keys to Canadians for more than 70 years.
This past year alone, more than 13000 keys were returned to their owners.
Proceeds from key tag initiative go towards the War Amps Child Amputee (CHAMP) Program which helps child amputees under the age of 18 who were either born missing a limb or lost a limb due to natural or medical causes.
Locally, Pembroke’s Megan Mantha – a senior kindergarten student at Highview Elementary – is a proud CHAMP.
The five-year-old was born a left hand amputee and as a CHAMP, her family has received financial assistance to cover the costs of Megan’s artificial limbs and devices – including her $18,000 myoelectric prosthetic.
Along with Megan’s myoelectric prosthetic arm, the program fully covers the cost of recreational devices to allow Megan to participate in sports or any other activity her heart desires.
When Megan wants to take a dip in the pool, she uses her waterproof swim arm and when she wants to ride her new bike she screws on her bike adapter.
Megan even has an attachment that allows her to climb, hang and swing on the monkey bars at school.
“With the myoelectric arm, some of our insurance covered it and the government paid a small portion but War Amps covered most of it. But when it comes to recreational limbs, insurance and the government won’t cover that. So that’s really where the War Amps comes into play, because anything recreational – riding a bike, if she wants to horseback ride someday, if she wants to use a kayak someday – is 100 per cent funded by War Amps,” said Sally Mantha, Megan’s mom.
Through the CHAMP program, Megan and her family are also provided with the opportunity to attend regional CHAMP seminars where CHAMPS and their families learn about the latest in artificial limbs, dealing with teasing and bullying and parenting an amputee child.
Sally expressed that the program has provided immeasurable support to their family, both financially and emotionally.
“It’s not just the financial support, but it’s the counselling and it’s the kids getting together and Megan seeing that she’s not alone,” said Sally. “The support is amazing. We've met friends for life and she knows kids her age that are dealing with the same things. They help each other with teasing and bullying in school so she knows how to deal with people staring or asking questions. The program has helped us all so much.”
Through the CHAMP program, Megan met Ryan Kaul – a 19-year-old from Pembroke who was also born as a left hand amputee from the same congenital disease.
Over the years, the Mantha and Kaul families have supportive one another immensely with Megan and Ryan partnering up together and doing presentations at schools around the community to educate others about CHAMP and the War Amps Key Tag Service.
On Feb. 27, Megan did her first presentation in front of her fellow students at Highview with help from Ryan’s dad, Ronald Kaul – who also happens to be a teacher at Highview – as Ryan was unable to attend.
As the CHAMP program relies solely on donations to the War Amps Key Tag Service, Ronald stressed that each and every Canadian should make a donation – with as little as two dollars going a long way.
“The War Amps receives no government funding and its programs are only possible through public support of the Key Tag Service,” said Ronald. “So I encourage every Canadian to donate. The key tags are insurance for our keys and every dollar goes towards covering the cost of prosthetic limbs for children like Megan and Ryan.”
The Key Tag Service continues to employ amputees and people with disabilities and has returned more than 1.5 million sets of lost keys. Each key tag has a confidentially coded number. Should the keys be lost the finder can call the toll-free number on the back of the tag or deposit them in any mailbox and the keys will be returned to the owner by bonded courier.
To support the Key Tag Service and insure your keys, visit: http://www.waramps.ca/ways-we-help/key-tags/