War Amps program helps Selkirk amputee step up to the plate
By Charlene McKellar
The Haldimand Press
SELKIRK—When Susan and Bob Schumacher found out there was an anomaly on a 20-week anatomy scan for their son, they had fears as any parent would.
Casey Schumacher, the couple’s third son was born without his left hand. Casey’s brothers Charlie and Cole noticed he was a little different when they met him, but “it never phased them in the slightest,” said Casey’s mom Susan.
Casey, who is now 5 years old and lives in Selkirk with his family, never lets the fact that he doesn’t have a left hand set him apart from those around him. Casey is part of the War Amps Child Amputee Program, referred to as CHAMP. Through the program, Casey is eligible for financial assistance for adaptive devices and peer support. He has a few adaptive devices, such as a baseball device which allows him to hold a bat for a harder swing. Casey has had the device for a little over a year, but has yet to use the device in a baseball game.
Casey learned to swing a bat before he had the device by tucking the bat into his arm pit. He’s noticed a difference between his bat, and everyone elses, indicated Susan, but he now has the option to swing with both hands.
Casey is constantly learning to do new things. “He does everything everyone else can do, he just does it in a different way,” said Susan. He has learned to do up a zipper, put his socks on, and he is currently learning to tie his shoes. He can even play the drums. Susan noted that Casey is “at an age where he notices that he is different,” but that hasn’t stopped him. “He’s a very determined little boy, if he sees someone doing something he wants to do it too.”
He can ride a bicycle like his brothers with the assistance of another adaptive device allowing him to sit straight without twisting to reach the handlebars. He also has a device called a ‘tumble’ helping assist him to do handstands and cartwheels.
The family is also able to participate in CHAMP seminar weekends to meet other kids in the area with limb differences and their families. “They get to spend the weekend with kids just like them,” explained Susan. “The seminars have been amazing,” as a support for Casey and his family. Casey attended when he was 2 and 3 but COVID caused him to miss the last two.
Casey’s mother Susan is confident that as he gets older, he will be able to enjoy more of the ability to connect with others. She went on to talk about how she no longer has the fear she felt at the beginning, largely because of that support. “The reassurance you get from other parents… and having that connection has been great.”
Susan is confident in Casey’s ability going forward to figure out things on his own, “he just has to be given that opportunity.”
The War Amps programs and services, wouldn’t be possible without support from the community.
The Key Tag Service was launched in 1946 so that returning war amputee veterans could not only work for competitive wages, but also provide a service to Canadians that would generate funds for the Association’s many programs, including CHAMP. This service continues to employ amputees and people with disabilities, and has returned more than 1.5-million sets of lost keys to their owners.
For more information or to order key tags, visit waramps.ca or call 1-800-250-3030.