Haddessah Block, 13, walks with her fellow CHAMP program members during the 2019 Peach Festival Parade on Saturday, Aug. 10. (submitted)

Okanagan child amputee aims to inspire others

The 13-year-old spends her youth defying a disability

A child who was born as an amputee in China and adopted at the age of 15 months by Kelowna parents is becoming a symbol of inspiration for children who have the same struggles.

Haddessah Block now serves as a CHAMP (child amputee) safety ambassador for the War Amps PLAYSAFE campaign, teaching children preventative measures on playing safe in their environment and helping others come to terms with their disability.

“It’s great,” the 13-year-old said, “I really like inspiring people.”

Her mother, Darienne Block, said Haddessah is a very confident child and although she has difficulty doing tasks that others take for granted — tying shoelaces, doing her hair — she doesn’t let it get her down.

“There are some struggles where you have this moment where you think you can’t do anything, but then you just do it,” Haddessah said with ease; resilience comes naturally to her.

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READ MORE: Kelowna local acts as a role model for other amputees

Darienne said her daughter is starting to take on other responsibilities, such as being a junior councillor for children who are learning how to live with having an amputation.

“She will be encouraging younger amputees to live their life the best they can,” Darienne said. “Nothing slows her down.”

Not even at the playground; Darienne said her daughter learned how to wrap her partial left-hand around the monkey bars to swing across when she was younger.

Now, she has taken to cooking dishes as tough as Creole blackened chicken, according to Darienne, she might even be a better cook than her parents.

Haddessah said that she thinks about being a chef in the future, not even thinking about how her physical disability could hold her back.

Then again, who knows what path Haddessah will want to take in the future.

“I’m only 13!”



David Venn
Reporter, Kelowna Capital News
Email me at david.venn@kelownacapnews.com
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