Submitted by The War Amps Child Amputee (CHAMP) Program

Ten-year-old Bruce Bush of Invermere, and Colton Sheppard, 9 of Strathmore, AB, are both energetic young boys who enjoy all kinds of sports, including hockey. At first glance, these two appear to be two typical boys, yet they share something special: they are both amputees.

Bruce was born a right arm amputee and Colton was born missing part of both feet. They met for the first time recently at a local minor hockey tournament, where their teams played against each other. Colton was watching the game from the bench when a player from the other team caught his attention. Excited, and pointing in the other boy’s direction, he told his mom, “Look, mom! That kid has a prosthetic arm!”

After the game, Colton and his mom, Chelsea, introduced themselves to Bruce and his family, and they shared their experiences about living with amputation. They also found out that the boys are both members of The War Amps Child Amputee (CHAMP) Program. As ‘Champs’, they are eligible to receive financial assistance for artificial limbs and assistive devices, as well as peer support.

Bruce was proud to show Colton the special device he uses to hold on to a hockey stick. “The device, which was funded by The War Amps, gives him better control of the puck and has boosted his confidence on the ice,” said Bruce’s dad, Stephen. “Thanks to CHAMP, he has no limitations in life and can participate in any activity he chooses.”   

“It’s important for Bruce to meet other children like him who understand exactly what it’s like to have an amputation. They can relate to each other in ways that they can’t with their other friends or fellow hockey players,” he added.

Both families agreed to stay connected, and the boys are planning to get together over the holidays, whether on the phone or playing video games online.

The War Amps receives no government grants. Its programs are possible through public support of the Key Tag and Address Label Service.