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'Best buddies' from Markham and Quebec bond through War Amps program

Over the holidays, Jericho Rodriguez and Gabriel Finn will have a virtual get-together to show off their new assistive devices

Jericho Rodriguez, 12, of Markham, was excited to be recently fitted with a new pair of running legs that allow him to stay active and keep up with his friends and siblings.

Jericho, a double leg amputee, is a member of The War Amps Child Amputee (CHAMP) Program. As a “Champ”, he is eligible to receive financial assistance for artificial limbs and assistive devices. He also attends regional CHAMP seminars where Champs and their parents learn about the latest in artificial limbs, dealing with teasing and staring, and parenting an amputee child.

Jericho attended his first seminar when he was five months old. It was here that his parents connected with the family of another amputee the same age as Jericho – Gabriel Finn, of Pincourt, Quebec, who was born a right foot amputee.

“Jericho and Gabe have been best buddies since they were very young. They are always keeping in touch, talking on the phone and playing video games online,” says Jericho’s mom, Joy.

Over the holidays, Jericho and Gabriel’s families will have a virtual get-together so that Jericho can show off his new running legs and Gabriel can show his new water leg that he uses for safety on slippery surfaces and for swimming.

“They encourage each other to accept their amputation and overcome the challenges that come with being an amputee,” says Joy. “We are blessed to be part of The War Amps family and we look forward to when everyone can be together again.”

The War Amps has been making a difference in the lives of amputees for more than a century and there is still much to do to ensure amputees, like Jericho and Gabriel, have the artificial limbs and devices they need.

“The War Amps receives no government grants, but with the public’s continued support of the Key Tag and Address Label Service, our vital programs for amputees will carry on long into the future,” says Danita Chisholm, Executive Director of the CHAMP Program.