November 2016 – People often can’t help but smile when they see six-year-old Kamryn Bond lay a wreath with her friend, Shannon Krasowski, 40, at their local Remembrance Day ceremony. Although an unlikely pair, they are both amputees and are part of a legacy that goes back nearly 100 years.
Kamryn is a member, and Shannon a graduate, of The War Amps Child Amputee (CHAMP) Program. It was war amputee veterans who created The War Amps in 1918, its Key Tag Service in 1946, and later, the CHAMP Program. Since 1975, thousands of child amputees across Canada have received financial assistance for their artificial limbs through CHAMP and attended regional seminars where they learn about growing up as an amputee.
When Kamryn was 11 months old, both of her legs, right hand, and several fingers on her left hand, were amputated due to a respiratory illness. Shannon’s left leg was amputated when she was 13 years old due to bone cancer.
They met three years ago at their local Remembrance Day ceremony. That year, Kamryn watched Shannon lay a wreath on behalf of The War Amps Operation Legacy, but ever since, it has been a tradition they share.
While growing up as a Champ, Shannon met many war amputee veterans and heard their firsthand accounts of the devastation of war. “They passed this legacy to us younger amputees and now it’s our turn to share their stories, so that we never forget their sacrifices,” she says.
Although Kamryn is still quite young, her mom, Dale, says it is important for her daughter to lay a wreath on Remembrance Day. “It builds the foundation for her to understand how much our war veterans gave up for our freedom.”
Dale adds, “We will always be appreciative of the work of the war amputee veterans and the message they have left for young amputees like Kamryn to carry into the future. It is for this reason that she lays a wreath every year in their honour, and will do so for many years to come.”
2016 marks the 70th anniversary of The War Amps Key Tag Service! To date, more than 1.5 million sets of lost keys have been returned to their owners. Donations to the Key Tag Service fund our many programs for amputees, including the Child Amputee (CHAMP) Program, which provides financial assistance for artificial limbs and recreational devices, regional seminars and peer support.