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Some really important volunteer work that I do is with the War Amps CHAMP program.

For those of you not familiar with this, The War Amps is a Canadian nation-wide registered charitable organization operated under the direction of war amputees. A philosophy of "amputees helping amputees" has been the hallmark of The War Amps since 1918, when the organization was founded by amputee war veterans returning home from the First World War. Created in 1975, the Child Amputee (CHAMP) Program is built on the Winner’s Circle philosophy which encourages child amputees (Champs) to accept their amputations and develop a positive approach to challenges.

I have been involved with the CHAMP program since I was quite young, but my volunteer work started at the age of 13, when I became a Junior Counselor. As a Junior Counselor, my role was to attend seminars, where younger CHAMPS would come with their parents and act as a peer counselor, to these kids and their parents. I’d be available to answer questions that they might have and to let the parents know that their child will be a-ok and to assure them that their future is super bright! I’m no longer a Junior Counselor, as I’m now part of the CHAMP graduate program. I still do get invited to seminars though, to meet new CHAMPS and reunite with old friends. When I attended a seminar in 2010, I met the most precious little girl named Brooke and her parents Rachel and Craig. Brooke was born with the same condition as me and the first girl I’ve ever met, with it. She was 2 when we met and so damn cute! It was so incredible seeing a “mini Me”. She had already figured out how to stand up the same way I do and naturally uses her feet, like I do too. She was so fascinated by me and how I did things. She watched me use my phone, eat with a fork and she even insisted on coming into the ladies room with me, to see how I managed that! We have since been matched, by the War Amps, so I’m now like a “Big Sister” to her and her family. They live in BC, but we keep in touch via Facebook and Brooke even FaceTime’s me on her iPod touch. This is the most incredible, important job I’ve ever had. Brooke looks up to me, as a role model and her parents are often calling & texting, asking me for advice. It feels so awesome sharing my stories with them and giving advice on how I dress myself, etc. so Brooke can learn from me. Brooke is already a spunky, independent, fierce girl, just like I was, so it’s totally my pleasure to lead her in the right direction, to the awesome, independent life that she will one day lead. I feel that when I first met Brooke and her family, I made a silent commitment to them, to always be there, as a friend and roll model, until the end of time. My actions will always impact Brooke, because she really does look up to me.

When I first started volunteering with CHAMP, I didn’t realize I was committing for life, but there’s definitely no turning back now!

vision Opening the eyes, minds and hearts of everyone that I meet. Inspiring, one person at a time.