Categories: Lifestyle

Thanking the CHAMP

Sunnery Basterash is a spunky two-year-old who happens to have been born with a partial right foot amputee.

So what, says his dad, Sean. The kid is just as lively and curious about the world as any other toddler. And just like any other toddler, he’s growing and needs to move up sizes in his clothes pretty often, shoes included. He needs specialty footwear as you might have guessed, so the costs go up a fair bit.

That’s just one of many reasons why the Basterash family is thankful for the support of the War Amps. The century-old organization offers psychological support, social support and financial support for things like those shoes.

“It’s just unreal. Everything from A to Z,” said Sean Basterash.

“He was born a right foot amputee, I guess. We’ve been introduced to War Amps from the get-go as a support group. Obviously, people deal with things quite differently.”

That’s where CHAMP, the organization’s Child Amputee program, comes in. It serves children who were either born missing a limb or have lost a limb due to an accident or medical causes. Children who are missing multiple limbs may also qualify for enrolment in Jumpstart, the program to help them get into sports.

He said that they were introduced to War Amps within Sunnery’s first year when they were invited on a trip to Saskatoon to the annual CHAMP seminar. There, they were “lucky” to meet three other parents of children dealing with the same amputation.

“It’s very rare to have the exact same thing. They showed us about prosthetics and ways that they helped cope with the wear of the foot, things like that.”

Prosthetics are pretty expensive, he added. They have helped the family by guiding them on how to “jump through the proper hoops with the government” to qualify for grants and other financial backing programs. If nothing works out there, War Amps has its own aid programs to offer support.

Kids grow fast and so those expensive prosthetics also have to be replaced with larger ones regularly, multiplying the cost to the parents.

“It can be quite a big burden on the average household to pay. Footwear is a big thing. You can’t just have the average running shoe and throw it on his foot.”

The emotional and other support groups also help so much, he said.


Scott Hayes: Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns and profiles on people.