“My favourite subject in school is gym class,” Martin said, “and I’m really good at math. Good enough to get a perfect mark.”
The nine-year-old Sarsfield lad is also a CHAMP, a Childhood Amputee representative for the War Amps of Canada. Martin was born a right-arm amputee, which means his right arm did not fully form during his foetal development. That does not stop him from trying and doing anything that his friends and playmates do.
“One of the biggest lessons we’ve tried to teach him is that failure is okay,” said Elizabeth Lakof, Elliott’s mother. “We let him try things and learn to pick himself up after. That’s been a good lesson for the family too, how to be resilient.”
War Amps CHAMP
April was Limb Loss Awareness Month in Canada and being resilient for Elliott Martin is a lot easier with a bit of help from the War Amps program, which provides funding assistance for the primary prosthetic forearm and hand he needs to grip and hold and manipulate everyday things like his videogame control, and the special adaptive device for the handlebars of his BMX-style bike so he can riding around.
“He rides for 30-minute intervals,” said Lance Martin, Elliott’s father. “He goes out a couple times a week.. He used to have to be hunched over the handlebars, but now he can sit up straight and ride.”
Riding a bike is okay, as far as Elliott is concerned. There’s one thing he enjoys more. “I like to run,” he said. “I’m the fastest of my age.”
What he means is that he is the fastest runner in his age group with the Ottawa Lions Club Track and Field organization. Once the COVID-19 pandemic is over, Elliott looks forward to getting out on the track field again so he can run.
Like many families, Elliott and his sister, Ayla, and their parents are homebound during the pandemic. His mum and dad have jobs with the federal government so they are able to work from home, and be available to help with their children’s homeschooling needs.
Elliott and Ayla also play games together and each one has organized a home club activity for the family. She launched the House Art Club while he is head of the Chill Club, which involves “cool stuff” for everyone to do.
Together, they also turned one of the windows of their house into a neighbourhood message of hope, with a hand-lettered sign that declares “You’re not alone. Just at home!”
For everyone else homebound during the current pandemic, Elliott Martin has one word of advice: “Smile.”