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


Abby and Mom

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. And she was afraid she wouldn’t make it this time.

To say that Camp Fantastic is magic is an understatement. Special Love brings together children with cancer and dozens of counselors and support staff to create what we call “amazingness.” Fun is everywhere. Love is everywhere. Each child’s individual medical needs are taken care of behind the scenes by highly trained medical personnel, while their emotional well-being is gently guarded by young adult counselors, many of whom are cancer survivors … all to allow these very special children to feel just like normal kids at camp.

Your generous gift helps make this happen, not only for Abby but for so many other children battling pediatric cancer.

Four weeks after that painful diagnosis, Abby – always our fighter – was on her way to Camp Fantastic.

At camp, she sang, played games, and laughed more than she had for the last 51 weeks (since her last visit to camp). She asked her friends to fix her hair in glamour class, moved to the music from her wheelchair in the dance workshop, and raised her hand to be part of five acts in the Thursday night talent show! After two months in her wheelchair, Abby even took her first steps on her own at camp.

Abby came home from camp energized. And since that magical week, we’ve watched her move and interact more than we’ve seen in the past two years.

Every year, Special Love gives our family a priceless gift: Abby’s week at Camp Fantastic and her sister Maggie’s week at BRASS Camp for siblings, as well as wonderful family weekends. This year, that gift was even more special.

We don’t know what the weeks ahead will bring us, or where Abby will go from here. We’re just so very thankful for this miraculous gift of extra time.

Please help us give back to the organization that has given our family, and many families like ours, the gift of joy and love. Your donation – whatever the amount – lifts the spirits of children who are facing the biggest battle of their lives.

With your help, Abby’s dreams came true at camp. And ours too. Thank you.


Patty and Joe, Abby’s parents