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The lad is a CHAMP

War Amps CHAMP Malcolm Taylor, 7, uses a prosthetic to hook onto a swing in his yard. - Don Bodger
War Amps CHAMP Malcolm Taylor, 7, uses a prosthetic to hook onto a swing in his yard.
— image credit: Don Bodger

Malcolm Taylor is a Champ in every sense of the word.

The seven-year-old is known as a CHAMP, a Child Amputee under the War Amps program, but is also a winner for not letting the fact he was born without a left forearm to slow him down.

He rides a bike. He swims. He can do most everything other young kids can with the aid of prosthetics.

Taylor is also a goodwill ambassador of sorts, helping to educate other children at Discovery Elementary where he’s a Grade 1 student about amputations and his own particular situation.

Taylor has made presentations at his school to explain it all to other kids, and is very articulate for his age.

One question, in particular, always annoys Taylor.

“They say, ‘how did you break your arm?’ I did not break my arm,’’ he said.

Dad Adam has attended a couple of Malcolm’s class presentations. Malcolm got through the second one especially well, all on his own.

Adam and wife Jacquie are grateful for everything the War Amps’ CHAMP program provides. It is funded solely through the War Amps’ key tag and address label service, providing prosthetics and valuable information for parents of CHAMPs whenever needed.

“They provide a lot of things we’re just starting to get interested in with daily living aids,’’ said Adam.

“They pay for the prosthetics which is no small thing. Some things are covered through the provincial medical system — only things that are prescribed. War Amps cover anything else.’’

“If we have questions, we contact them,’’ said Jacquie.

The Taylors recently attended the annual CHAMPs seminar at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort and Spa which is a great place for interaction with kids of all ages having a variety of amputations. To say Malcolm loved the seminar is an understatement.

“Boy, do they pick good hotels and good food,’’ he raved.

“I also like I get to see other CHAMPs,’’ Malcolm said.

“One of the things they encourage kids to do at the seminar is to give a presentation at school and he did that,’’ said Jacquie. “You get a lot of questions.’’

Kids are naturally curious, Adam said.

The first seminar the Taylors attended with Malcolm was in Vancouver when he was six months old.

“It was great to connect with everybody,’’ said Jacquie. “You get a sense of just how capable these kids are.’’

Doctors couldn’t explain why Malcolm was born without his left forearm but it did show up on his 20-week ultrasound.

“They said, ‘we couldn’t find the left arm there, but no big deal,’’’ recalled Adam.

But that missing limb never appeared.

“It was a little nerve-racking until he was born,’’ Adam said. “Aside from his missing arm, he was fine.

“At that point, you’re new parents. You have no idea what kind of impact this is going to have on your life.’’

The Taylors have since had a young daughter without complications.

Malcolm hasn’t required any surgery at this point with his growing body.

“It occasionally happens if the bone grows faster than the muscle tissue,’’ explained Jacquie.

But Malcolm’s already on his third basic arm since the prosthetics endure a lot of wear and tear.

In the meantime, Malcolm goes on living life to the fullest, but perhaps a little wiser about the world than most kids his age. As well as he does, there are difficulties.

“Sometimes it’s kind of hard to do stuff,’’ he said. “I never go on monkey bars. My arm will fall off and then I’ll fall off.

“And it’s kind of hard for me to play baseball.’’

There are thoughts that come to his mind about what might have been.

“At night, I wonder what it would be like to have two hands,’’ he said. “I can’t imagine it.’’

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