Jack be nimble

Thursday, 29.03.2012 / 1:45 PM / Features
By Derek Jory
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Jack be nimble

Jack Mendham and his twin brother Alex were born 13 weeks premature in late May of 2010.

There were complications, as you’d imagine, and while Alex fought through them, Jack had to have his right leg amputated when he was five-weeks-old.

Jack and Alex are now rambunctious as ever at 22-months-old, they enjoy playing, playing, playing and playing a little more, if there’s time.

They also enjoy watching the Vancouver Canucks play and while both twins are becoming fans through their parents Jared and Natalie, Jack will be forever linked to the team in a unique way.

Back in 2008, Jared and Natalie moved to Vancouver from Australia as part of a working holiday program and it wasn’t long before they were head over heels in love with the Canucks.

While in Vancouver the couple got pregnant with Jack and Alex, their first children. At 4 p.m. on May 20, 2010, Jack (weighing 995 g) and Alex (850 g) entered the world.

The boys spent three months in the BC Children’s Hospital overcoming a variety of issues, including twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome they experienced in the womb; the only lasting impact was to Jack’s right leg, which was not receiving blood flow.

After a battery of tests were run from a variety of doctors and specialists, it was determined that Jack’s leg was dead below the knee. Blood was not circulating to the leg, so it was treated like a case of frostbite meaning they waited for the body to prune the unnecessary parts of the leg before doing a cleanup operation on him a few weeks later.

Jared and Natalie took the news in stride and embraced that not only would Jack overcome his disability like paralympian Aimee Mullins, he’d do it in style.

Being the amazing mother Natalie is, she found a high-resolution Johnny Canuck logo, it was then printed onto a t-shirt transfer and wrapped around the prosthetic before resin was layered over the top.

The end result was a one-of-a-kind Canucks prosthetic that shows Jack’s true colours and helps him be a kid.

“He walks around just fine on his Canucks prosthetic leg,” said Jared, via email from Australia, who stressed the significance of Vancouver to the family.

“Our ties with Vancouver are still very important to us - that's where the boys were born, we have lots of friends over there, plus it's such a beautiful city. The Canucks are a symbol of our time in Vancouver, and how much we loved it there.”

The twins, Jack and Alex, will have a poster of Vancouver’s twins, Daniel and Henrik Sedin, on their wall before long. Dad wants to ensure his sons grow up with great role models and the Sedins are just that.

Next up will be bringing the boys back to their birthplace to see a Canucks game live.

“Hopefully we'll get to bring the boys back occasionally for Champ conferences (they're aimed specifically at Child Amputees, put on by the War Amps) and my work. It would be great to take the boys along to see the Canucks play and let them experience the atmosphere themselves.”