For Roan Heck and Zoe Gottwald, it was a split second during a routine summer chore that led to their enrollment in The War Amps Child Amputee (CHAMP) Program. Both youngsters lost a leg when playing too close to a lawn mower.
Having seen the consequences of lawn mower accidents all too often, The War Amps is this month launching a summer-long push to pass on a potentially life or limb saving message to kids – that they should never be near lawn mowers.
“Every year we see children enrolling in our CHAMP Program due to lawnmower accidents that could have been prevented,” said War Amps PLAYSAFE Director Rob Larman, “These accidents can happen so quickly and lead to life altering consequences.”
Roan’s accident took place on the family’s farm when he was riding with an adult on the lawn mower and fell off. Zoe was running on the grass and slipped beneath a riding lawn mower.
Roan’s Mom, Jolene, reiterates how important it is for kids to stay away from lawn mowers. “It doesn’t matter how capable someone thinks they are with machinery, accidents can happen in the blink of an eye. I would never want anybody to go through what Roan and our family went through.”
The War Amps is spreading the message by featuring it on its PLAYSAFE parade floats, in presentations and safety blitzes to kids’ groups, and in hard-hitting public service announcements on TV and YouTube which feature Roan and Zoe’s stories.
The public can visit waramps.ca/playsafe.html for information on PLAYSAFE videos and resources including a SafetyWalk kit to help children spot the dangers in their neighbourhoods before they play.
2015 marks the 40th anniversary of CHAMP! Generations of child amputees have benefited from The War Amps financial assistance for artificial limbs, regional seminars and peer support. From the time they are infants through to adulthood, children grow up knowing the CHAMP Program will be there every step of the way.