The Community Foundation of North Central Florida (CFNCF) honored Dr. Paul and Ruthie Dell at the Gainesville Legacy Awards for their charitable efforts with Hands to Love. In the awards program, the CFNCF features a brief history about Dr. Dell and Ruthie.
As a hand surgeon at the University of Florida, Dr. Paul Dell has always had a special place in his heart for children with congenital upper limb differences. In 2000, Dr. Dell learned of Hands Down Camp for children with congenital upper limb differences in Dallas, Texas from his colleagues Dr. Mary Beth Izaki and Dr. Peter Carter of Scottish Rite Children's Hospital in Dallas.
Ruthie Dell and Ginger Stirna McFadden, Occupational Therapists at UF Health visited Hands Down Camp and immediately knew this was something they wanted to do back home. In 2001 the first "Hand Camp" was held in Florida!
The first Hand Camp was initially open only to families who had been served in the UF clinic. Within three years, Hand Camp was open to any family who wanted to participate, and the organization was incorporated as a nonprofit. When a vote was taken amongst the charter parents on a name for a website they decided on Hands to Love, and it's stuck ever since!
What began as a group of 17 families now serves more than 80 families (and growing) each year! Hands to Love is the only organization of its kind in the southeastern United States and serves families and children from across the United States.