Local company helps War Amp CHAMP

After hearing Stacy Douglas' story, Garry Norkum of Cyclepath was more than willing to help out.

Douglas is a grade 12 student at Rutland Secondary who has a prosthetic leg and lives alone, without family, in a supported living arrangement.  He overcame cancer at the age of 8, but ended up losing his leg to the disease.

Several months ago the War Amp CHAMPS provided Douglas with a hinged crank arm device that can be attached to a bike, giving Douglas more mobility options.

Susan Foisey of Bridge Family Services says she contacted several bike stores in town, over a period of six months, to see if they could provide Douglas with a bike that his new crank arm could be attached to.

"He had an old mountain bike but this amazing piece of technology can't be placed on a bike like that. He needs something more reliable that can get him to and from work and wherever else he needs to go," says Foisey.

It was Garry Norkum of Cyclepath who really stood out to Foisey as someone who wanted to help Douglas. Norkum says Douglas is a polite young man, who is a joy to be around.

"He is such a good kid, whose trying hard to be active and use his own transportation," says Norkum.

"With the hurdles he has had to go over both physically and others , we were happy to take on that and support him. Plus he was so appreciative and always kept me up to date with how he was doing."

With the wheels set in motion Norkum acquired a bike from Opus, a Canadian company with a community minded owner.  The hinged crank arm that would be attached to the bike was specifically designed for Douglas by a local Kelowna prosthetic company, Hager Orthopaedic Clincis Ltd.

Bill Buston, a prosthetic technician has been working with Douglas for years and says he is extremely excited that this hinged crank arm will give Douglas the opportunity to ride a bike.

"Stacy has a vanes rotation plasty prosthesis, which is a unique orthopaedic procedure, the problem with this procedure that relates to cycling is that he can't bend his knee," says Buston

"So we designed a crank arm with a hinge in it, that allows for a slower pedal rotation cycle to accommodate Stacy and propel himself on the one side as a posed to not being able to ride a bike at all."

Douglas says he is grateful to everyone who made this happen, from the War Amps for donating the money, to Hager for the design and to both Norkum and Opus for the bike.

"I used to be restricted by the bus system, which runs pretty well, but sometimes I want to get somewhere on my own. I live in Black Mountain so it's pretty restricted," says Douglas.

Cyclepath gave Douglas two Opus bikes to chose from, and he says it was a tough decision because both were exactly what he wanted.

"I chose this one because it's lighter and easier to get around. I will probably be able to go faster," says Douglas.

Fosiey, who accompanied Douglas to the War Amp CHAMPS Provincial Conference last month, says the War Amps not only provided the teen the crank arm, but have also been an integral part of his life.

"We were able to retro fit his apartment with safety bars and other stuff, all provided by the War Amps, which allows him to have more mobility," says Foisey.

The crank arm cost approximately $4,000 and was put together over 20 hours by Kelowna resident Mike Schewe, who works closely with Hager Orthopaedics Clinics Ltd.

Douglas is also working on a distance program with BCIT in computer sciences and will employed at a local music repair store this summer.

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