Not many Special Love campers can say they started out as babies. Even fewer can say they started out at camp as twin babies! But that what Kiana and Kendra were when their parents brought them to family programs such as the annual Christmas party. Their brother, Jason, was a toddler diagnosed with glioblastoma. He attended Camp Fantastic for several years, but it wasn’t until he was diagnosed with medulloblastoma at 23 when Kiana and Kendra first went to BRASS Camp at age 13.
“[We] I attended BRASS weekends and Brass camps as campers, then as adults, we volunteered at BRASS camp for 4 years. We still volunteer now at various other special love weekend when we have the time.
They recall attending the summer family reunion every year as well as a few of the spring family weekend. They left each one counting down the days until they could be around the campfire again at the next camp. Their parents, Patrick and Yvette, even attended a parents getaway weekend “and they loved it so much they would not stop talking about it for days.”
Kiana and Kendra loved the family weekends because they reunited with friends they had made at BRASS:
“Having BRASS for us was definitely a gamechanger… knowing that you were surrounded by people going through the same thing. It was very easy to make friends at BRASS and no matter where you left things with that person you were able to easily pick your friendship right back up when you got back to camp. Even till this day when my sister and I talk about our fondest memories it will be about BRASS camp or the experiences and bonds we made with other campers and volunteers.”
Kiana and Kendra credit BRASS with giving them a safe space to talk to others going through similar situations.
Even as bereaved campers we still had a huge support of people who loved and cared about us and checked in on us to make sure we were doing well and having that was a big help in the early stages.“
The twins volunteer at BRASS camp and BRASS weekend whenever they’re available and in 2022 volunteered at one of Special Love’s Summer Celebration Days, a series of one-day family camps hosted throughout the Greater Washington area and Williamsburg.