Jackson Point is a playful and energetic four-year-old who loves hockey, lacrosse, school and his dogs, Lacey and Daisy.
He was born a partial amputee with three fingers and the palm of his left hand missing but he doesn’t let that slow him down.
With the help of the BC War Amps CHAMP (Child Amputee) program, he’s meeting other children with challenges like he has and learning how he can do whatever he wants to do. Jackson and his parents, Kyle and Carmen, recently attended the CHAMP Seminar in Vancouver for the second time.
“It’s overwhelming the first time but in a positive way,” said Carmen. “We want to do everything to help Jackson realize that he is perfect for us the way he is and he has always been amazing in how he figures things out. We all learn so much at the conferences, meeting other families and children with different kinds of amputations. One parent goes to play sessions with the children and the other goes to sessions to learn about resources. There was one session with the children where they all showed and talked about their artificial limbs and the different ones they had for different activities.”
The CHAMP program, which is funded solely by the public support of the Key Tag and Address Label Service, and is staffed by amputees or people who have an amputee in their family, is available to all families who have children with amputations at no cost to the families, no matter what their income.
Families are matched with other families with children with similar amputations and keep in touch through phone calls and e-mail, with funding available for visits.
“They do everything for us. They greeted Jackson by name at the conference and he gets birthday cards. When we were in the groups, we could talk about anything we wanted and the kids are able to meet the junior counsellors who have grown up as amputees and are role models for them,” said Carmen.
There were 86 children and youth with their families from around the province at the conference, which is held once a year. This is the 30th anniversary of the CHAMP program.
“We always learn something. There are books for the children, one about an octopus who had a missing limb. Jackson loves Finding Nemo, where the fish had a special fin,” said Kyle. “He’s so active. He’s on a soccer team and he’s figured out how to make a hockey stick and lacrosse stick work. The War Amps will help him with any adaptive equipment he needs for any activity he wants to do, all at no cost to us. They will even custom-make things.”
Carmen is impressed by the warmth and acceptance of the whole organization.
“We want Jackson to be comfortable with who he is. When he first started to understand how his hand was different, he would sometimes try to hide his hand in his shirt sleeve. At the conference, he gets to see that he is not the only kid like him. It is all so welcoming and supportive, like no place else I’ve ever been before,” she said.
Jackson liked having the special time with his parents and no sisters.
“It was fun,” he said.
Kyle is pleased with how the seminar encouraged Jackson.
“He’s figured out how to hang off the monkey bars at the playground. He persisted and now he just gets out there and swings.”
Kyle and Carmen said there is no way they can fully express their appreciation for the help their family has received from the CHAMP program, that they hope that every family who needs the program will find out about it, and that they are grateful for the community support which makes it all possible.