Evelyn was only 4 years old when her family was rocked by the news from their doctors: Evelyn was fighting Cancer. Not even in kindergarten yet, Evelyn and her family faced a battle on 2 fronts: cancer treatment and an unprecedented global pandemic.
Amid lockdowns, quarantines, and a seemingly endless barrage of tests, medications and procedures, Evelyn’s family found an ally and an outlet through Special Love’s virtual Camp and Online programs.
“Special Love has been a great reminder to our family to have fun amidst all of the stress that a cancer diagnosis brings. “We had a lot of fun as a whole family last summer with virtual Camp Fantastic. Evelyn made s'mores with her Aunt, and I loved getting to do some science experiments with Evelyn as part of camp. The whole family is always down for any kind of dance party too!”
Even through virtual interactions, Evelyn was still able to make connections that would change her life.
“[Evelyn] met a kindred spirit in her friend Konstantina first online and now in person at Special Love events. There was an immediate connection between the girls. Evelyn didn't even know her friend also had leukemia until they had been ‘best friends’ for many months.”
In 2022, there was enough progress in the fight against COVID that Special Love was able to take the fun of Camp Fantastic to scenic locations throughout the areas that are home to Special Love’s kids and families. Through “Summer Celebration Days,” kids like Evelyn who had only connected virtually were able to leave the walls of quarantine behind and connect as part of the Special Love community.
Katharine, Evelyn’s mother, shared that:
“The [Summer Celebration Days] were a great break… to spend time together in a safe and supportive environment. Special Love reminds us that we are not alone on this journey and that there is hope.”
Even more than the opportunity to be outside and enjoy a day of fun apart from the weights and worries of a childhood cancer journey, Evelyn and her whole family have found a community that supports and understands where they have been and the journey that lies ahead
“Special Love has given Evelyn so many opportunities to have fun and experience joy. The organization has consistently lifted our spirits as a family. (It) is first and foremost about kids and secondly about the fact that they all have an experience with cancer.”
When asked about the impact that their new friends and community support have had, Katherine
“[Evelyn] is doing great -- she just turned 6 and is having the summer of her life.”