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LETTER: Kids should never be near lawn mowers

War Amps Child Amputee Program (CHAMP) and PLAYSAFE advocate Zoe Gottwald shares a safety message as lawn-cutting season arrives
Zoe Gottwald - collage
Zoe Gottwald, 16

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Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye. When I was four years old, I was playing outside when I slipped on the grass and fell underneath a riding lawn mower. I lost my left leg below the knee.

I grew up in the War Amps Child Amputee (CHAMP) Program and, today, I help pass on the association’s PLAYSAFE message. With lawn-cutting season here, I want every kid across the country to know they should never be around lawn mowers.

I accept who I am today, but I wouldn’t want anyone else to go through what I did. I hope that by sharing my story, it will prevent even just one child from being injured.

If you would like to learn more about how to play safely and hear stories from other young amputees like me who have lost limbs in accidents, visit

Zoe Gottwald, 16