News Local

She's a CHAMP

By Stephen Uhler, The Daily Observer

Megan Mantha, 6, is a member of The War Amps Child Amputee (CHAMP) Program. Here with the help of CHAMP Graduate Jolan Wong, Megan gives an amputation awareness presentation to her Grade One and Two classmates at Highview Public School. The pair are showing off their artificial limbs

Megan Mantha, 6, is a member of The War Amps Child Amputee (CHAMP) Program. Here with the help of CHAMP Graduate Jolan Wong, Megan gives an amputation awareness presentation to her Grade One and Two classmates at Highview Public School. The pair are showing off their artificial limbs

Pembroke resident Megan Mantha is still a CHAMP.

 

The energetic six-year-old continues to be the spokesperson for the War Amps CHAMP program, CHAMP for Child Amputee.

CHAMP serves children in Canada, under 18 years of age, who are born missing a limb or have lost a limb due to an accident or medical causes. It offers comprehensive services to child amputees and their families, including financial assistance, regional seminars and peer support.

She spoke to her peers at Highview Public School Nov. 6, when she addressed the Grade One and Two classes about amputation awareness. Mantha was joined by Canadian Paralympian Jolan Wong, 27, a graduate of the CHAMP program.

Mantha was born without half of her left arm, while Wong lost her right leg to cancer when she was 12. They have overcome unique challenges in their lives including having to deal with people who don’t quite understand what it’s like to be an amputee.

“I'm used to people staring at us because we're different,” Wong said, suggestion it is far better to approach them and ask questions than to stare and point.

“I get asked if I get tired using the gear,” she said. “I tell them no, as it is juts our daily life.”

The pair broke the ice with the assembly by showing their prosthetic limbs. Mantha’s myoelectric prosthetic arm cost around $18,000 and is rechargeable, plus she has a small inventory of special devices to allow her to do all sorts of things, such as swim, play basketball and ride a bike.

“Megan can do all of the activities you guys do,” said Wong.

The War Amps CHAMP program fully covers the cost of recreational devices to allow her to participate in sports or any other activity her heart desires. It also covers the cost of replacement limbs as she grows, in order to keep up with her body.

Through the CHAMP program, Mantha 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, among other things, It is also a chance to rub elbows with others facing similar challenges.

CHAMP is financially supported by the War Amps Key Tag Service which was launched in 1946. 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.

The key tag service continues to employ amputees and people with disabilities and has returned more than 1.5 million sets of lost keys.

SUhler@postmedia.com