Local ‘CHAMP’ benefits from key tag service

Multi-use artificial hand can be used for holding the ski pole.

Nicole Byford of Cranbrook is pictured using her cross-country skiing device thanks to public support of the War Amps’ Key Tag Service.  Nicole was born a partial left hand amputee and has received financial assistance for the cost of recreational devices.

Nicole Byford of Cranbrook is pictured using her cross-country skiing device thanks to public support of the War Amps’ Key Tag Service. Nicole was born a partial left hand amputee and has received financial assistance for the cost of recreational devices.

Courtesy Leah Cameron

As The War Amps 2016 Key Tags are mailed to B.C. residents, the service marks 70 years of returning lost keys to their owners. Donations to the Key Tag Service assist members of The War Amps Child Amputee (CHAMP) Program, including Nicole Byford, 17, of Cranbrook.

Nicole was born a partial left hand amputee and has received financial assistance for the cost of recreational devices. Growing up, she has also attended regional CHAMP seminars where Champs and parents learn about the latest in artificial limbs, dealing with teasing and bullying and parenting an amputee child.

“I was recently fitted with a multi-use artificial hand that can be used for holding the pole in cross-country skiing. I can also use the device for mountain biking in the summer. CHAMP has allowed me to do whatever I set my mind to and know that the sky is the limit,” said Nicole.

Nicole’s mom, Jackie, says, “We are so grateful to CHAMP and all the people who support this amazing program which allows our children to participate more fully in all activities. We cannot imagine our lives, or Nicole’s, without CHAMP.”

The War Amps Key Tag Service was launched in 1946 so that returning war amputees could not only work for competitive wages, but also provide a service to Canadians that would generate funds for the Association. The Key Tag Service continues to employ amputees and people with disabilities and has returned more than 1.5 million sets of lost keys.

Each key tag has a confidentially coded number. Should the keys be lost, the finder can call the toll-free number on the back of the tag, or deposit them in any mailbox, and the keys will be returned to the owner by bonded courier.

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

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