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Camp Fantastic

The Hats Have It

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Crazy Hats
What great fun it was to present an NIH Director’s Award to Steve Chanock for his 25 years of distinguished service as the medical director of Camp Fantastic, Front Royal, VA. Camp Fantastic allows kids undergoing treatment for cancer to spend a week around the campfire feeling like regular kids again. Camp Fantastic also has a rich tradition of asking volunteers to sport funny hats, and I got to share a fond memory with Steve, director of the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at NIH’s National Cancer Institute. (Yes, Steve is wearing a taco hat.) Applauding the moment is NCI’s Jim Doroshow. The ceremony took place at NIH on July 15, 2019. Credit: Laura Beane-Freeman

Playing With My Band

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ARRA
I got to spend the lunch hour playing with my band the Affordable Rock ‘n’ Roll Act (ARRA) to support Camp Fantastic. This program provides a series of week-long summer camps in Virginia and Maryland for kids with cancer. My band played under the canopy of the NIH Clinical Center’s South Lobby on June 11, 2019. Credit: NIH

Around the Campfire at Camp Fantastic

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Dr. Francis Collins sings for children around a campfire at Camp Fantastic

I always have such a wonderful time each August visiting Camp Fantastic in Front Royal, VA. This year, I got to sing a few songs around the campfire with my wife Diane Baker and granddaughters Bailey and Norah. Camp Fantastic provides a unique, week-long camping experience for about 100 children with cancer. We were there on August 14, 2018. Credit: Chia Chi Chang


NIH Family Members Giving Back: Diane Baker

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In the kitchen of The Children's Inn

Caption: My wife Diane inspired me and my staff to volunteer to make dinner for patients and their families at The Children’s Inn at NIH.
Credit: NIH Record

My blog usually celebrates biomedical advances made possible by NIH-supported research. But every August, I like to try something different and highlight an aspect of the scientific world that might not make headlines. This year, I’d like to take a moment to pay tribute to just a few of the many NIH family members around the country who, without pay or fanfare, freely give of themselves to make a difference in their communities.

I’d like to start by recognizing my wife Diane Baker, a genetic counselor who has always found time during her busy career to volunteer. When I was first being considered as NIH director, we had lots of kitchen table discussions about what it might mean for us as a couple. We decided to approach the position as a partnership. Diane immediately embraced the NIH community and, true to her giving spirit, now contributes to some wonderful charities that lend a welcome hand to patients and their loved ones who come to the NIH Clinical Center here in Bethesda, MD.