Kennedy Rhodes, 15, from Calgary, and Ernie Friesen, 10, from Taber, lost limbs in accidents and are members of The War Amps Child Amputee (CHAMP) Program. As the weather warms up, they are warning kids to spot the danger before they play in a new War Amps video, PLAYSAFE: Don’t Let It Happen to You.
Kennedy was 13 when she lost her left leg in a train accident. She and her friends were playing by the railway tracks and decided to hop on a moving train. Kennedy fell off and her leg went under the wheels. Ernie was chasing a dog on the farm when he fell onto the blades of a moving grain auger and lost his left arm at the shoulder. They are now using their experiences to pass on an essential and possibly life-saving lesson to other children – PLAYSAFE!
“If I could say anything to kids that are thinking of jumping onto a train or playing near the railroads because it seems like it’s fun or just because your friends do it – don’t do it!” says Kennedy. “Kids should stay away from all machines. Accidents happen fast. I never thought it would happen to me, until it did,” explains Ernie.
In the video, they are joined by six other young amputees who share their stories about how they lost their limbs while at play. They stress the importance of staying away from “mean machines” like lawn mowers, trains, boats, cars and farm equipment.
This unique kids-to-kids approach to safety awareness is the foundation of the PLAYSAFE™ Program. “We believe that no one is better qualified to deliver the safety message than Champs like Kennedy and Ernie, who know what it is like to lose a limb in an accident,” said Rob Larman, Director of The War Amps PLAYSAFE/DRIVESAFE Program.
PLAYSAFE: Don’t Let It Happen to You is a valuable resource for families, educators and community groups. It can be viewed free-of-charge online at waramps.ca/playsafe.
The War Amps is celebrating its 100th anniversary! Our programs have grown over the years from assisting war amputees – whom we still serve – to all amputees, including children. With the public’s continued support of the Key Tag Service, our vital programs for amputees will carry on long into the future.
To learn more about The War Amps 100-year history, please visit waramps.ca.