Triple Amputee Brings Message to Elmira

Written By: Renata Stiehl
Amputee Brings Story to Elmira
    ELMIRA (WENY) -- Imagine waking up in the hospital, to learn you lost both your legs and right arm in a tragic accident.
     More than ten years ago, that's exactly what happened to Cameron Clapp, after a night of underage drinking on railroad tracks near his home in California. Now a triple amputee, he's using his experience to help others.
     Now 26 years old, Cameron is in Elmira, talking with medical professionals at Saint Joseph's hospital, demonstrating his prostheses and explaining how hospital workers can help amputees physically, and emotionally.
     "That's something I really try to emphasize to the medical field and amputees themselves," Cameron explains.
     He speaks from experience; he lost three of his limbs in September 2001, after being hit by a freight train near his home. Initially told he'd never walk again, Cameron refused to accept it - and smashed everyone's expectations. He not only can walk, he can swim, surf, ski, participates in triathlons, even drives a car - without any modifications to the vehicle.
     "And it's all a matter of your determination and commitment to follow through and succeed with those goals you set for yourself," said Cameron.
     He now travels the country, meeting with hospital staffs, and visiting with other amputees to share experiences, and provide support through this life-changing time.
     "That can really encourage and help with motivation to show what's possible, and to answer questions and to give answers to otherwise they might be lost, you know," Cameron said.
     Cameron also says having a positive attitude is key - not letting a negative thing define your life, and using the experience to redefine yourself.
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