Providing a helping hand

Cloverdale’s Arianna Hunsicker, 10, is able to enjoy her favourite activities thanks to CHAMPs.  - Sarah Massah photo
Cloverdale’s Arianna Hunsicker, 10, is able to enjoy her favourite activities thanks to CHAMPs.
— image credit: Sarah Massah photo

A Cloverdale girl is proving that her partial left-hand amputation won’t slow her down.

Arianna Hunsicker was born with a smaller hand that could not grip many items, but that hasn’t stopped the 10-year-old from enjoying an active lifestyle.

And now, Arianna has received a boost from the War Amps Child Amputee (CHAMP) Program.

The charitable organization created a custom-made tool for Arianna that allows her to grab on to her bike, her badminton racquet and much more.

The tool has also made Arianna an ambassador for those with amputations. By sharing her story, the Adam’s Road Elementary student has been been bringing awareness to amputations and ending common misconceptions. Arianna recalled initial comments and reactions from her classmates when they saw her amputation. Over time, she said, people have become more accepting and understanding.

“All my friends when I first met them were a bit weird about it, but now they’re used to it and think of me as normal,” she said. “Some people say that I can’t do things that well, but I prove it to them that I can do it and they’re impressed.

“I feel pretty good about sharing my story. I don’t let people put me down about my hand.”

The program has been a constant stream of support for Arianna, and will cover the cost of any prosthetic that she would need.

“They’ve been amazing. The cost of making things like this is very expensive,” mom Andrea said. “With Arianna, she had specific needs that she wanted to use the tool for. The most important was that she wanted it to look like a real hand.”

Prior to the custom tool, Arianna had never had a full hand. Up until she turned eight, she had no tool at all. It was only in recent years that she had used prosthetics, including a hook.

“So her latest wish was for something that looked more real,” Andrea said.

Now that she has tested out the tool on her favourite activities, Arianna is exploring what else she can do, including some basics, like styling her hair.

“As a female and a 10-year-old, that’s important stuff. She can hold a brush in one hand now and the hair dryer in the other. “So now it’s like, ‘OK, what else can we do?’” Andrea said.

The prosthetic hand has also given Arianna a boost in confidence, which will help when she rides on the CHAMP float in the 2014 Hyack International Parade in New Westminster on May 24.

“When I wear this, I can just act casual. I don’t need to hide or anything, because it’s just me and myself,” she said. “I don’t care what other people think.”

For more information on the CHAMP program, visit or call 1-800-250-3003.


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