Local schoolchildren got an important message from a fellow Red Deerian recently.
Cassidy Kuse, 14, is a Grade 9 student at Hunting Hills High School. She was born missing her right foot, but has never let that stop her from pursing her dreams.
Kuse is a member of The War Amps Amputee Program. She recently conducted an amputation awareness and PLAYSAFE presentation to the students of Oriole Park Before and After School Care Program.
“I’m here to tell people that no one is different no matter what you look like,” she said. “My message would be for kids to play safe and to make sure they are not discouraging others and to include everyone because when you tell one person to back off, it affects a lot of people. It’s important to include everybody.”
Kuse had health issues from an early age. When she was little she said she hit her leg and it broke. She was taken to the doctor where it was discovered she had weak bones – also known as pseudarthrosis of the tibia. Kuse also has neurofibromatosis.
“We went in for a surgery and it worked, but then my leg broke again. I’ve had about 13 surgeries trying to fix the problem and right now it’s stable, so I am still walking ok.”
She added she has not let her health stop her in day-to-day life.
“The one surgery I had I didn’t walk for a year because I was scared to put pressure on my leg. But other than that I haven’t let it stop me. I was in a wheelchair in Kindergarten and then I just started walking and running like any other kid and I ride my bike and like to swim.”
Mandy Kelham, Kuse’s mother, said she is proud of her daughter.
“She’s come a long way and she doesn’t let anyone stand in her way. I try my best to encourage her and she does the same to me. She’s very positive and inspiring. She brings a lot of joy to other people.”
In terms of the future, Kuse said she would love to do more talks around Red Deer to help spread her message. She is also looking at pursuing a career as an interior decorator or as an author.