Camp Fantastic

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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 [...]