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  • Writer's pictureTerri Tomoff

Special Love Turns 40!

Special Love’s 40th Anniversary of Camp Fantastic!

Good Morning, Campers!

The founding couple of Special Love, Inc., Tom (RIP) and Sheila Baker, lost their only daughter, Julie, a few years before 1983 to Lymphoma. There were no camps for cancer kids in the DMV (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia) at that time, but Tom and Sheila were adamant to start something to help kids with cancer cope a little better with their situation. They felt that a camp setting was just the ticket to their dream.

When Tom & Sheila walked into the 4-H Center Camp in Front Royal, Virginia, in 1982, they were not exactly sure what they were asking for but had a solid vision and some divine intervention sprinkled in when they met with the director at the time, John Dooley.

By January 1, 1983, Special Love was born with the first camp that summer. Fast forward to 2023. The organization is growing and helping kids and families fight childhood cancer and beyond. Their programming today includes siblings, families, outings, weekends, and a smattering of good stuff throughout the year.

Special Love played a large part in our family’s journey in all the battles we faced over the past 26 years. We could not be more thankful to be introduced to other cancer families we met at our initial treatment hospital, along with the social workers working in conjunction with the camp personnel to recruit prospective siblings and cancer kids to have the best week of their lives!

To celebrate this wonderful milestone, Special Love’s Gala will be held on Friday, June 23rd, at the Hilton-Tyson’s Corner. This will be a special evening supporting children with cancer and their families and celebrating their 40th Anniversary!

In honor of this milestone event, I created a T-shirt Quilt with many of the shirts given to the campers and staff through the last 40 years, sans Covid-years. Over 25 were donated by the camp doc, Steve Chanock. The quilt of many memories will be a part of the silent auction items.

For more information on this great organization, click here:




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