A dare from a friend nudged Rob Larman’s life into a new direction, one where he has made supporting and inspiring others part of a mission spanning nearly four decades.
When he was 14, an attempt to jump on a slow-moving freight train cost Mr. Larman his right leg, prompting struggles to accept the loss of a limb and questions about his life and career prospects. Then, a War Amps CHAMP seminar changed his outlook.
“I was in a dark place at the time,” he recalls. “But when I saw so many children with various levels of amputations connecting with each other and having fun, I thought, ‘Why can’t I be like this?’ That’s when I started to accept my own amputation.”
The War Amps has been part of Mr. Larman’s life ever since. He deeply resonates with the motto of “amputees helping amputees” and has witnessed the power of community in supporting children and adults living with amputation.
“I started as a junior counsellor when I was 17. By then, I had a positive outlook and I was able to reassure younger amputees that they were going to be okay,” he says. “I’ve always loved helping to educate people and reduce the stigma associated with amputation and disability.”
The War Amps was founded in 1918 by amputee veterans returning home from the First World War. In 1975 – as the urgency of serving war amputees from both world wars diminished – the organization expanded its focus by starting the Child Amputee (CHAMP) Program, says Mr. Larman. “The War Amps helps amputees in communities all across Canada to ensure they receive the level of support they need: from peer support to financial assistance for artificial limbs and adaptive devices.”
While advancing technologies can bring substantial benefits for amputees, they often come with significant costs, which the organization helps to cover with its signature key tag and address label mailings, he explains. “The War Amps doesn’t receive government grants; our programs are funded by donations from the Canadian public.”
Beyond advocacy and financial assistance, The War Amps offers moral support through regional seminars, communications and “inspiration,” says Mr. Larman. “Seeing amputees who don’t allow their circumstances to hold them back inspired me – and it can be a source of hope for families and children that they, too, can overcome their challenges.”
More information: waramps.ca.
Advertising feature produced by Randall Anthony Communications with The Association of Fundraising Professionals Canada. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.