Flavien Lavigne is a true CHAMP.

The 15-year-old resident of the Sainte-Anne-de-Prescott area has benefitted for much of his life from the Childhood Amputees Program (CHAMP), delivered by The War Amps, an organization originally founded to assist veterans who became amputees as a result of war injuries. The CHAMP program offers a comprehensive series of services to child amputees and their families, including financial assistance, regional seminars, and peer support until age 18.

On Friday, August 12, Flavien was also specially recognized by the Township of East Hawkesbury at the municipal golf tournament breakfast for his involvement with the CHAMP program.

When he was almost two years old, Flavien was in an accident involving a fan on his family’s farm and his left arm had to be amputated. Personnel at the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM) where he was treated suggested to his parents Jean-Pierre and Shana that the War Amps may be able to assist. Shana’s brother David Labonté also expressed interest in what the War Amps could offer and eventually, they registered Flavien in the CHAMP Program.

“They put us in contact with other families,” Flavien said.

The Lavigne’s began attending War Amps CHAMP seminars.

“The most important thing is meeting others like me who have had accidents,” Flavien said.

The CHAMP program and its seminars teach young amputee’s special skills essential to daily life and leisure, like using scissors to cut paper.

“They have everybody, people with one leg, people with one arm,” remarked Flavien.

He said big challenges for him when he was younger were zippers, using scissors, and tying shoes.

CHAMP seminars include sessions for parents.

“The big thing is to see other children and know they’re not alone,” Shana said.

The Lavigne’s have two other children, son Vercin and daughter Adele. Flavien said growing up in East Hawkesbury, he never encountered challenges.

“They knew my parents. They knew my story,” he said.

Flavien begins Grade 11 in September at École secondaire catholique régionale de Hawkesbury (ESCRH). For a past project in a school entrepreneurship program, he created a game show which raised funds for The War Amps. Flavien has also appeared in television public service announcements for the organization.

Athletically, Flavien is quite talented. He enjoys golf and baseball for fun and plays soccer competitively both at school and in the Glengarry league. In track and field, he has earned two golds and one silver at the Ontario Federation of Secondary School Athletic Association (OFSSAA) level, in the ambulatory category, competing against students from across Ontario in 100 metre, 800 metre, and shot-put.

“I wish I could do the paralympics,” Flavien said.

As for following high school, Flavien is still figuring out his post-secondary education plans.

“I want to go to university or college, I’m not sure for what.”

The next big task for Flavien Lavigne is getting his driver’s licence once he turns 16 and finding out what adaptations may be required for him and vehicles.