Last week, local 13-year-old Ciara Pelletier-Lebouef decided to pause for five minutes of silence at the local cenotaph in honour of Remembrance Day and the veteran members of the War Amps.
“I wanted to show my respect for the veterans,” said Pelletier-Lebouef, who is a part of The War Amps Child Amputee (CHAMP) Program.
The Grade 8 Holy Family student hopes that her pausing for a moment of silence will inspire other kids to do the same.
“During my five minutes of silence, I was thinking about the veterans and the soldiers that have lost their lives. I wear a poppy every day now for them,” she said.
Pelletier-Lebouef was born with focal femoral hypoplasia.
“Ciara was born with her right leg shorter than the other by about half,” said Christina Lebouef, Ciara’s mother. “Right now she uses a prosthetic that has a second foot. We're seeing what options we have as far as surgery goes to make things easier for her, but for right now she has her prosthetic to make it easier for her to support herself,” she said.
Even though she was born with something that some people might view as a disadvantage, Pelletier-Lebouef doesn’t let it get her down.
“We are so proud of Ciara and how far she’s come. She is so inspiring because she always stays positive. Even when she can’t figure out how to do something, she always finds a way. She’s been so amazing,” Lebouef said.
Pelletier-Lebouef is proud to be a part of Operation Legacy, a project established in 1991 where members of the War Amps CHAMP program pay tribute to the war amputees who founded CHAMP.
Some of the goals of Operation Legacy are to ensure the sacrifices of fallen soldiers and veterans are not forgotten, to educate the public about the realities of war, and to foster a message of hope for the future, a news release issued by the War Amps states.
“War amps is so great to be a part of,” Lebouef said. “They're so supportive of the kids and parents. They're in a safe place where they can just relax and not worry about feeling different.”
“Ciara was happy to have the opportunity to lay a rose down at the cenotaph and show her respect,” Lebouef said.
Pelletier-Lebouef aspires to be a firefighter when she grows up, and her favourite subject in school right now is math.
"I’m not the best at it, but I like to learn new things,” she said.