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The “Amazingness” of Camp: An Open Letter from Abby’s Parents

  This July, we received the terrible news that no parent should ever hear: Our nine-year-old daughter Abby had just days to live. Almost two years ago, Abby’s treatment for her type of leukemia included a lifesaving bone marrow transplant. She’s been battling side effects ever since. But recently the complications became so severe that her doctors braced us for the worst. We were devastated. But in the middle of the turmoil, all Abby could think of was Special Love’s Camp Fantastic: It was just four weeks away, she said, and she wanted to go. To Abby, summer means camp. [...]

Listen to the Music in My Heart

Julia Jones, Special Love counselor and former camper (Wilm’s tumor) ... For one week every summer, I get to go to camp. Camp is my happy place. This camp is called Camp Fantastic…. In 1998, I was a camper at Camp Fantastic, and Special Love has been a part of my life ever since. For the past six years, I’ve been a counselor at camp. I wish I could tell you the story of every child I met at camp. I wish I could share all of the ways they impacted me and touched my heart. Every year when I [...]

In Joyful Defiance of Their Cancer

Christopher Barnett, MD, Special Love volunteer ...  Last night was the Camp Fantastic talent show. About halfway through, a camper came onto stage to perform “holding breath.” He took a big breath in and held it while we all counted to 30, and the audience went crazy with roaring applause. A few hurried bows and he ran off the stage so the next campers could sing, dance, beat drums, fold origami, or act in a skit. Some acts were simple and some complex, but the audience response was always the same: whistles, hoots, and thunderous applause at the end. We [...]

The Gift Of A Childhood

It is not that "at Camp Fantastic, the checkups just happen to be bookended by canoe rides, archery lessons, dance classes and a carnival," but that, "at Camp Fantastic canoe rides, archery lessons, dance classes, and carnivals just happen to be bookended by medline."

2012-08-20T12:56:45+00:00 Camp Fantastic|2 Comments

The Rewards of Risk

I am a bad singer. Like tone-deaf-nails-on-chalkboard crazy bad. When I was in high school, the family joke was that I was asked to sing solo…you know, so low that no one could hear me. Singing in public fills me with fear similar to sitting at the top of a rollercoaster with no seatbelt.   And here I am at a camp where everyone is encouraged to lead songs. Hmmm. […]

2012-08-12T23:53:34+00:00 Camp Fantastic|1 Comment

Staff Reflections

I am truly humbled by the amazing group of volunteers who have gathered here for a week of service and compassion. Like most families, we are diverse. There are extroverts and introverts. There are young and not as young. There are medical experts and those who don’t know a rubber glove from a rubber band. There are veterans who have been doing this for almost 30 years and rookies. There are country music fans and rockers. There are former campers now rooming with their former counselors. […]

2012-08-12T02:48:06+00:00 Camp Fantastic|3 Comments
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