Niagara Gazette

Communities

October 8, 2012

Triple amputee knows about defying the odds

Niagara Gazette — A young man with a big personality and a whole lot of perseverance made an appearance at Kenmore Mercy Hospital Monday afternoon. 

Cameron Clapp, now 26, lost both his legs and his right arm when he was hit by a train at the age of 15 in his home state of California.

And in 2008, his twin brother died of a drug overdose.

But despite his many struggles, Clapp is now thriving — and walking. He came to Kenmore Monday to share how he carried on. 

"I've had a lot of bad things happen to me," he said. "But the important part is that I got back up again." 

The accident occurred just a few days after the Sept. 11 attacks, and Clapp and his friends had built a shrine of candles in memory of the victims at a beach across the street from his California home.

"I didn't know how to emotionally deal with it all, and I was drinking pretty heavily," Clapp said. "I was standing on the train tracks, looking at the memorial and thinking about how much those people had lost, but I had no idea the loss I was going to experience that night." 

Clapp passed out on the track, and just a few moments later, a train came. Thanks to first responders, Clapp's life was spared but the locomotive mangled three of his limbs. 

Clapp said he remembers waking up in the hospital bed, wondering what his life would be like.

"I was full of fear," he said. 

Three weeks later, Clapp was released from the hospital in a wheelchair. Doctors told him he would never walk again.

Clapp was determined to walk and set himself upon the goal. He swam to build up upper body strength and walked around on his amputated legs for five months.

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