Mark Allison stands with his recreational swim prosthetic leg, which the War Amps helped him to get. Allison is a Junior Counsellor with the War Amps and feels thankful he’s received the tools he needs to participate in the many sports he loves.
Sixteen-year-old Mark Allison is a Champ and not just in the realm of sports.
Allison has been a War Amps “CHAMP” Junior Counsellor for four years and has been attending seminars with the War Amps for more than 10 years.
“I wanted to be a Junior Counsellor since I was seven,” says Allison. “When I was growing up I really didn’t think there was a lot of people out there like me and when I went to a seminar the older Champs… really helped me fit in and they were role models.”
Champs are child amputees who were either born without a limb, or lost one due to illness or accident. The junior counsellors help other Champs with any questions they may have, help lead seminars and act as role models to the younger champs.
Allison is a big advocate for the War Amps and for good reason: his love and pursuit of sports has been made possible by the funding for prosthetic limbs the charity provides.
The teen lost his right leg below the knee to cancer when he was three years old. He says the War Amps help pay the majority of the expense of buying prosthetics.
Having access to varying forms of prosthetics helps Allison do what he loves – play sports. Allison plays badminton, basketball, and he swims. He says he also tried hockey but it wasn’t for him.
“The War Amps helped me with my recreational swim leg,” says Allison regarding his waterproof prosthetic leg.
Allison says he’s made meaningful connections through his time with the War Amps and he wants to continue helping through the organization into adulthood.
“There’s a Champ in Halifax who I met through the IWK and War Amps and we meet quite often. I help along with questions because he has the same amputation I have and the same cause so it was really nice,” says Allison.
Allison recently attended a seminar for Champs and says there’s a variety of experiences available for young people at the event. There are play sessions for young children, teen issue sessions, and sessions for parents.
The teen sessions include a range of topics such as learning to drive, getting into the workforce, dealing with bullying, and more.
In the future Allison wants to continue helping with the War Amps by being a guest speaker at seminars and he also hopes to help co-ordinate War Amps entries in parades. The War Amps enters large parades across Canada to promote driving and playing safely.
“I’ll be attending seminars as long as I can and I hope to come back and be a guest speaker,” says Allison.