It’s another typical day at the gym for Rio Manning and Bryce Cordick.
The Okanagan teenage boys love keeping fit and, with the help of new prosthetics funded by the War Amps, their gym routine is as challenging as they want it to be.
“You grow up used to having both your hands and working them. I’ve grown up having one hand and I just have to adapt and learn,” Manning said. “That’s the one skill I think us amputees have – we can adapt.
“If we can’t do something as well as someone with two hands, we have to figure it out.”
And figure it out they did.
With the help of a prosthetist, the boys now each have a custom-made arm prosthetic that enables them to lift weights.
Both Manning, 16, and Cordick, 15, have been supported by the War Amps for most of their lives.
“I’ve been involved with the War Amps since I was two,” Cordick said. “My parents noticed that it would be a good way to help me out in life. I was born missing the fingers and part of my left arm.”
The teenagers believe so strongly in the organization that they decided to become War Amps junior counsellors and recently traveled to Vancouver to speak at the 2019 B.C. Child Amputee (CHAMP) Seminar.
“It’s an incredible opportunity,” Manning said. “Just spending time with kids and talking with parents.
“You get these families that are completely worried: ‘My kid is a little different. How do I raise him?’ And here are these older kids, these junior counsellors, and we’re doing just fine.”
The two friends are doing more than fine: they’re full of enthusiasm with goals for the future.
“Me and Bryce do taekwondo, a martial art. And this May, he’s going for his first black belt and last year I tested for mine,” said Manning.
“It’s an insanely difficult test. And people with two hands also have trouble with it. We can do it. Nothing is stopping us.”
The two junior counsellors were involved in a workshop at the champ seminar discussing amputee pet peeves.
For Manning, the biggest take-away that he wants others to know about is how to approach him and his amputation.
“When people think ‘don’t look at it, it’s rude,’ I love it when people come up and ask me and want to talk to me,” Manning said. “Having one hand has been a big conversation starter for me.”
As for Cordick, he has a personal take-away from the event.
“They give me courage and power to do stuff,” Cordick said. “At the seminars, I learn not to let my amputation be a disability. Try to own it as much as I can.”