History

Dr. Paul Dell is a hand surgeon at the University of Florida and has always had a special place in his heart for children with congenital hand differences. In 2000 Dr. Dell learned of Hands Down Camp for children with congenital upper limb differences in Dallas, TX from his colleagues Dr. Mary Beth Izaki and Dr. Peter Carter of Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital in Dallas.

In the late 90s two Shands & UF occupational therapists, Ruthie Dell and Ginger Stirna, visited the camp, and immediately they knew that this was something that was needed at home. In 2000 they established the University of Florida/SHANDS Congenital Hand Camp.

In 2000 the first “ Hand Camp” was held and offered initially to only those families that had been served at Shands UF. Within 3 years, H2L’s reach was extended to any family that wanted to participate, and the organization was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit under the name Congenital Hand Camp, Inc. When a vote was taken amongst the charter parents on a name for a web site to communicate throughout the year on they decided on “Hands to Love,” and it’s stuck ever since!

“Hand Camp” was created to address the unique physical, social and emotional needs of children with upper limb differences, and provide a fun, success-oriented camp experience for the entire family. The organization continued to grow as an annual camp event and formal support network, and was renamed Hands to Love in 2005.

What began as a group of 17 families now serves more than 50 families each year! H2L is the only organization of its kind in the southeastern United States and serves families and children from across the USA.