Local boy demonstrates prosthetic attachments for amputees' convention

Suzanne
Suzanne Boyer
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"It's called the flapper," 10-year-old George Kasinski announced as he held up the prosthetic arm with a flexible white a plastic disc attached to the end. "When I go in the water it goes out (open) like this and when I come up, it folds up like a taco."

Local boy demonstrates prosthetic attachments for amputees' convention

"It's called the flapper," 10-year-old George Kasinski announced as he held up the prosthetic arm with a flexible white a plastic disc attached to the end. "When I go in the water it goes out (open) like this and when I come up, it folds up like a taco."
George was asked to participate in the opening session of the War Amps 2008 Western Child Amputee (CHAMPS) seminar in Saskatoon on July 11 in order to demonstrate his swimming device and another he uses to play baseball. George and four other CHAMPS participants were involved in the session called Disability vs. Dreams - Dreams Win Every Time.
"I was swimming. I got on TV," George proudly announced. "I was doing the front stroke and the back stroke," he said quickly flailing his arms in circles.
George was born a left arm amputee, he has a short limb on the left that stops where his elbow should be. His mother Maria Rajbar said the War Amps organization has been a tremendous resource for the family.
"Anything that insurance doesn't cover - so that's anything recreational - they pay, no questions asked," she said. These are provided entirely through donations.
Rajbar explained that the War Amps' only requirement in providing artificial limbs and devices to child amputees is that the item be well constructed and that the recipient be happy with it.
The plastic arm that slips over George's upper arm also has several attachments that screw onto it, like the one to ride his bicycle, a hand that can grip things and a more flexible static hand that can be used for something like push-ups. He's looking forward to receiving a new quick-release attachment that will eliminate the need to thread all the different attachments onto the arm.
George has also received a new mechanism that can be fitted with a baseball glove and closes over the ball. He's still practicing with the heavier, more complex baseball arm.
Rajbar explained that George was asked to participate in the CHAMPS demonstrations because he lives near to the seminar location, but also because the CHAMPS organizers know the youngster who has attended the War Amps annual seminars since he was three.
"George has been there for several years and they're familiar with him and he is not shy," she said with a laugh.
Rajbar said she noticed a marked difference in George after the first CHAMPS conference.
"Right after that weekend he was so much more self-confident," she said.
She added it's nice for her son to play with other children with challenges similar to his.
"Nobody asks stupid questions, nobody points, nobody gawks," she said.
"I don't think they spend much time talking about it. They just play together."
"I usually hang around with them and play cops and robbers," George said of his CHAMPS friends.
The War Amps also provide parents of child amputees with programs like Matching Mothers, a support network for parents whose children have similar amputations. They also provide resource packages that help introduce a child's classmates to what they can and cannot do as amputees and familiarize them with the equipment they use.

Suzanne Boyer can be reached
at 691-1258.

Geographic location: Saskatoon

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