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In Their Own Words: The Lilabean Foundation

The Lilabean Foundation is honored to have supported five brain cancer families through Special Love during the Covid-19 crisis. At this time, we feel it is so important to act on the real and immediate need that families with kids in active treatment are facing. As a mom to a brain cancer survivor, I know first hand how difficult and overwhelming diagnosis and treatment can be. Add on top of that the financial burdens and health concerns that come with Covid...it is just too much. Our mission at the Lilabean Foundation is to fund pediatric brain cancer research, but we also [...]

“As a parent I can’t bear to think of having to navigate both crises at once…”

Special Love Blog Contributor Shari Fisher The COVID 19 pandemic is reminiscent of another time when I felt isolated and I worried about the future, health and finances. My daughter, Julia, was diagnosed with Wilms Tumor when she was six. As she faced what we hoped to be lifesaving surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, our entire family was plunged into an overwhelming whirlwind of hospitalizations, clinic appointments, medications and home health care along with financial worries and fears of the unknown future. We were removed from cherished friends, routines and activities as we cleaned and sanitized and washed our hands. [...]

Family Ski Weekend – 2020

Skiing - Adaptive skiing – and weather – at Canaan Valley Resort It was all about family.  Special Love’s annual Ski Family Weekend was held over the Martin Luther King Weekend at Canaan Valley Resort near Davis, WV, and provided more than 40 families with 3 days of skiing, snowboarding, tubing, great food and lots of indoor fun. For some of the families, it was a chance to join in the fun by using adaptive skiing equipment* to enjoy a day on the slopes. Everyone  had to adapt to widely varying weather throughout the event, which included rain on [...]

Winter Weekend – 2020

What winter woes? Our winter has been wonderful! Another terrific Winter Weekend is in the books!   Great weather at Bryce Resort in Basye, Virginia provided the perfect place for a wide array of fun winter activities such as skiing, snowboarding, tubing, games and roasting marshmallows over the camp fire.   It also gave our teen campers and young adult cancer survivors a chance to rekindle camp friendships. . Our “rustic” lodging was provided by Shrine Mont, a retreat center in Orkney Springs, just two miles from Bryce Resort, allowing us to spend the entire day Saturday on the slopes and [...]

Holiday Party

Dec. 1st 2019 We just wrapped up our annual Holiday Party for current and past patients as well as volunteers. We had 63 families and countless Special Love volunteers participate this year which made for an almost full house at the Franconia Firehall in Franconia, VA. The 3-hour party consisted of arts and crafts, face painting, balloon-making, tours of the firehouse, and a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus who handed out chocolate Santa’s courtesy of Ray White with the Optimist Club. Also huge thank you to TC Williams and his 35 volunteers for coming out again to help [...]

Parents Getaway Weekend

Nov. 23-24, 2019 Parents’ Getaway hosted 29 couples, 4 couples who have never participated with Special Love before and 8 who have been to another program but never Parents’ Getaway. The historic George Washington Hotel in Winchester, VA. hosted us again this year. We kicked the morning off with a nice breakfast then jumped right into the morning program. This year we invited Matthew Zachary, founder of Stupid Cancer, to speak to the parents on Resiliency. His story was extremely captivating and the parents really enjoyed it. After a small break we broke out into a parent panel discussion [...]

Octoberfest Weekend 2019

Octoberfest Family Weekend is one of the most highly anticipated events of the year! It's the event that kicks off fall for our Special Love families, and this year was no different. We had 27 families join us for a full weekend of autumn activities for the whole family. Friday evening is our first social time, with families arriving at the 4-H Center in Front Royal, VA, arts and crafts, and our opening ceremony at Campfire. Saturday was a jam-packed day of activity! This year we shook things up and trekked to Wayside Farm Fun in Berryville, VA and everyone [...]

Special Love KOA Day 2019

Our annual KOA Day, held at the KOA in Williamsburg, VA, was a huge hit this year! We had a record number of families, 12 families, 58 people total. The amazing people of KOA, who sponsor the day, provided a wonderful lunch for the families and allowed us to take advantage of the activities they bring into the camp site. The morning kicked off with fun crafts, and then everyone headed out for a hiking adventure. After lunch families participated in various family centered activities, took advantage of the heated outdoor pool, the marshmallow bouncers and KOA’s new Frisbee golf [...]

7th Annual Fall in Love 5K!

On probably the only crisp fall morning in all of September in Washington DC we welcomed more than 250 people to Canal Park, part of the Capitol Waterfront, for fun and some walking/running. This was a year of firsts for the 5K; the first year the event was not timed, new location AND the introduction of family fun events. Another highlight, we raised over $30,000 for Special Love’s programs.  To all our longtime participants and newcomers, sponsors and partners, THANK YOU! We were thrilled to welcome NBC4 Meteorologist Chuck Bell, as our 5k emcee and participant. A new friend to [...]

Camp Fantastic 2019 – The Best Week of the Year

Special Love’s hallmark program, Camp Fantastic, is frequently referred to by the campers as “the best week of the year” and this year was no different. We hosted 100 pediatric oncology patients ages 7-17 in mid-August at the Northern VA 4-H Center in Front Royal, Virginia.  Camp Fantastic gives the kids everything that makes a traditional camp so fun, like canoeing, sports, crafts, swimming, and campfires. There were also some new, fun activities such as karate, two escape rooms, and virtual reality gaming. All big hits with kids of every age.   While most of the campers looked (and acted) [...]

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