Honoring The Life and Work of Dr. Edward Baum
It is with heavy hearts, deep respect, eternal gratitude, and warm memories that the management team, Board of Directors, volunteers and campers of Camp One Step by Children’s Oncology Services honor and pay tribute to an incredible man and founder of our organization, Dr. Edward Baum. We were all deeply saddened to learn of the recent passing of Dr. Baum, and our heartfelt condolences go out to his wife, Ann, and their entire family.
Dr. Baum represents a lasting legacy of community and hope for countless individuals, through his decades of work benefitting the children and families served by our organization. For all of us, he will be remembered as a visionary, who understood the deep pain, isolation, sadness and fear that children battling a cancer diagnosis face, and he used that knowledge to create a safe, nurturing place to bring those children together where they could find support, hope and joy again. What began under his leadership with a single Summer Camp program in 1978, serving 40 children that first summer, has grown today into 11 programs held throughout the year, which now serve more than 800 campers annually.
Throughout his decades of work developing programs and advancing the mission of our organization, Dr. Baum used creativity, compassion and commitment to guide his efforts. At a time when few resources existed for children with cancer to meet and bond with their peers outside a hospital setting, he and a handful of dedicated volunteers made that first camp a reality, often drawing upon their own resources and the generosity of others.
At the time, one of the youngest camper to attend Summer Camp was a little boy named Austin Cappelle, who not only attended Summer Camp, and later other camps as a counselor, but eventually became a volunteer Program Co-Director for the Utah Ski Program and Utah Adventure as an adult. Austin reflected on Dr. Baum, saying “Dr. Edward Baum was a doctor, father, entrepreneur, philanthropist that inspired and has brought unmeasurable joy to countless lives. It is surreal to think, I met Dr. Baum 40 years ago to the month, when I was rushed by ambulance from the suburbs to Children’s Memorial Hospital in October of 1981, at the age of 2. He not only saved my life but was a consistent friend throughout my life. He challenged me as a camper to be a role model, as a young adult to be myself, as a college student to find a path that suited me, and always had a warm smile and open heart as an adult. Not only was he my friend, he put forth an energy in his camp that has given me numerous, wonderful friends. Every year, I make new friends through Camp One Step and am blessed to have amazing childhood camp friends as well. The impact Dr. Baum has made is simply astonishing.”
Dr. Baum and other volunteer leaders soon realized the enormous impact felt by children and their family members in offering critical opportunities to connect through camp activities. They used that knowledge and passion for helping others to help expand programming opportunities through the years, so that campers could connect more often than through Summer Camp alone. The evolution of programming continued with the creation of Winter Camp in 1987, Utah Ski Program in 1992, the Seabees Program in 1997, the Washington D.C. Program in 2001, Family Camp in 2004, Dude Ranch Program in 2005, Springfield Program in 2006, Sibling Camp and Outdoor Adventure Program in 2009, Brain Tumor Family Camp in 2010, and Chicago Day Camp in 2013. During the early 2000’s, Dr. Baum and his team also began efforts to translate application information into Spanish, in order to reach a larger audience and increase outreach efforts. His dedication to offering camp programs to families touched by a pediatric cancer diagnosis, minimizing and eliminating financial and medical barriers that might prevent children from attending camp programs, and fostering an environment of support, community, hope and joy lives on today.
For many of our campers and families, Dr. Baum was not only the face of camp but also their physician, a healer who dedicated his career to treating pediatric cancer patients. For parents, he was a source of information and hope who gave them support in the midst of unthinkable challenges facing their family. For our volunteers, he was a leader who helped create innovative programs, infrastructure, and medical protocol so that children facing cancer could attend camp despite their illness or complications. One of Dr. Baum’s volunteer leaders who continues to direct the Seabees Program today, Donna McHale, shared “The Seabees Leadership Program and all camp programs would not have been developed without the vision, love and compassion of Dr. Ed Baum. Dr. Baum realized there needed to be programs to allow young cancer survivors to remain connected to the “family” he created at camp. Since the program’s inception, the Seabees have thrived, grown and become more independent each year. They give back to camp and ensure every camper knows about Dr. Baum. We loved Dr. Baum and thank him for everything he has done for children with cancer. Dr. Baum – your vision and kindness will live forever in our hearts.”
Dr. Baum also dreamed of former campers and their family members one day serving as volunteers, counselors, and program leaders, as well as future members of the staff and Board. His vision to foster an environment of “paying it forward” has also been realized, as today 1 in 5 volunteers is a former camper, the vast majority of our programs are led by former campers, our Family Camp Virtual Program was just led by two parents of current campers, and one member of our management team is a former camper as well. Today, Camp One Step offers 11 programs held throughout the year. We are supported by hundreds of dedicated volunteers, a small professional staff, and dedicated Board members. We stay firmly committed to the ideals and values that Ed held so close to his heart. Camp One Step will continue to honor his legacy, and work tirelessly to advance the mission of our organization by serving generations of campers to come. It started with the vision of one, and together we will continue his vision, One Fight One Family.