Three-year-old Cooper Bauer of Elkford joined generations of child amputees last month to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the War Amps Child Amputee Program (CHAMP).
The anniversary celebration included a three-day seminar hosted in Vancouver from March 20-22 that invited child amputees and their parents from across the province to learn about the latest developments in artificial limbs and how to deal with bullying.
“It was nice this year because he got to interact with the kids more now that he’s a little bit older,” said Cooper’s mom Rebecca. “The experience itself is really empowering just because of the support and the love they give for the champ and their families. We attended a parent counselling group, which is something that’s really beneficial and important to me, to connect to other parents so that I can ask questions and voice my concerns and worries.”
The Bauer family attended a similar seminar in Winnipeg last September, but they said they were glad to attend one with families from just B.C. this time.
“It was a similar format as the one we attended in Winnipeg but now we’re just part of the B.C. group so it was good to start connecting with people that are more in our region,” said Rebecca.
As part of the group’s Matching Mothers program, which pairs up families who have children with similar needs, the Bauers had the opportunity to meet their family match for the first time.
“It was really neat to meet our family match and it lets you know that you’re not alone in this,” said Rebecca.
Cooper himself was born missing all of the digits on his left hand and uses a prosthesis the CHAMPs program donated to mimic his dad while riding around on his bike.
Rebecca describes Cooper as a “wild child” with limitless energy who loves playing sports such as hockey, soccer and baseball.
The Bauer family recently met with a prosthetist in Lethbridge to design a new piece that Cooper can switch with his current prosthesis.
“He’s hoping to join hockey in the fall so we’re looking to find something that will help support him holding a hockey stick and also something that can hold a glove for baseball among other things,” said Rebecca.