Garrett Warkentin poses for a photo in the Beaver Lodge Lands with a new prosthesis, a myoelectric arm. Photo by Julia Warkentin

Campbell River War Amps Champ enjoying new myoelectric arm

Garrett Warkentin uses prostheses like tools for different activities

Being born a left arm amputee hasn’t stopped a Campbell River youth from living an active life.

And recently, Garrett Warkentin, 12, was outfitted with a myoelectric arm, with help from The War Amps Child Amputee (CHAMP) Program.

The prosthesis can sense muscle impulses, meaning he can open and close the hand by simply flexing the muscles in his residual limb.

The new arm is a little bit itchy, warm and fuzzy, he says over the phone, and thanks to the battery that powers it, a little heavy too.

RELATED: Campbell River family reflects on War Amps 100th anniversary

It’s just another tool to help the active pre-teen pursue the myriad activities he’s interested in.

Warkentin also has prostheses that attach to his bike, hold a pick while he plays guitar, and hold his karate accessories while he practises.

Warkentin’s newest prosthesis is a common choice for upper-limb different kids, says mom, Julia. A limb difference means the limb may look different than most people’s, possibly due to a developmental issue in the womb, or because of a disease or accident.

“They’re so useful for holding things and easy to open and close,” she says of myoelectric arms.

Warkentin’s had a few electric arms over the years, but this is the first one that uses electrodes on his upper forearm to trigger movement.

“The other ones were using muscles down at the end of his limb, so this one, he felt a lot more control,” she says.

Now, being a little older, he wanted a little more control and has the patience to practise with it. And he’s stronger.

If using the prosthesis were a video game, he says, it would be like playing on normal mode.

But Warkentin also does so much without any prostheses, Julia says. Especially in the summer when it gets hot.

“He’s a pretty confident kid and willing to try just about anything,” she says.

Story continues below.

Garrett Warkentin rides his bike in Beaver Lodge Lands on July 26 with the help of a specialized prosthesis that helps him hold onto the handlebars. Photo by Julia Warkentin

With the COVID-19 pandemic, Warkentin hasn’t been out participating in his usual summer activities with War Amps. In the past, he’s attended Champ Camp, where Champs and their parents learn about the latest and greatest in artificial limbs, as well as dealing with the teasing and bullying some child amputees face. He’s also been a participant on the group’s float in a few parades on the Lower Mainland.

“If talking was a sport,” he says with a laugh “I’d be a master.”

He and his mom have been involved with sharing resources and information about War Amps in the community.

In 2016, he was even recognized by Mayor Andy Adams for his efforts.

“Council is inspired by your determination to lead a full, active life and applauds your work as a safety ambassador,” Adams said when he presented Warkentin with a special certificate in recognition of his involvement with War Amps.

The War Amps program began more than 100 years ago to help First World War amputee veterans coming home. Over the years, it’s expanded its programs to support all amputees, including kids like Warkentin.


@marissatiel
marissa.tiel@campbellrivermirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Campbell River

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A B.C. Centre for Disease Control map shows new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 11-17. (BCCDC image)
BCCDC says fresh COVID-19 cases down in most Island Health areas

Nanaimo sees its fewest new COVID-19 cases since mid January

The Sybil Andrews Cottage property in Willow Point, along with the Haig-Brown House property, have both been assigned Community Heritage Designation. Mirror File Photo
Sybil Andrews cottage and Haig-Brown House get full heritage status

Designation offers both protection as well as opening up future funding opportunities

Police executed a search warrant at the Devils Army Clubhouse on Petersen road in Campbell River on August 10, 2017.
John Dillon Brown set off to conclude an out-of-court settlement the day he disappeared

Trial of Richard Alexander continues in B.C. Supreme Court in Victoria

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist, an independent pharmacy in Toronto, Monday, April 19, 2021. Younger Canadians in several provinces are now able to get the AstraZeneca vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
AstraZeneca vaccine appointments fill up fast on Vancouver Island

More pharmacies expected to be added as supply increases

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

The conservation service confirmed they do not relocate cougars from settled areas but that euthanasia is not necessarily the fate for an animal in the Fanny Bay area. The hope is that the animal will move on to wild areas. (File photo)
Woman hopes cat-stalking Fanny Bay cougar can avoid euthanization

Conservation officers do not relocate the animals from Vancouver Island

Tofino residents expressed frustration over a recent post by Long Beach Lodge owner Tim Hackett that falsely claimed all residents have been vaccinated. (Westerly file photo)
Resort owner apologizes for suggesting Tofino is safe to travel to

Long Beach Lodge owner Tim Hackett apologizes to community and visitors

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Most Read