If anything, 7-year-old Virginia Graeme Baker was a champion for the underdog

Her twin sister, Jackie, now 11, was underweight at birth. She suffers from Tourette’s Syndrome, as well as several learning disabilities, but Graeme wouldn’t let anyone tease her sister.

“All of her friends were underdogs. Her best friend lost her father at a young age, and there was another girl who moved in the middle of the school year. Graeme took her under her wing,” says her mother, Nancy Baker.

“She was gentle and calm, and hugely compassionate. She was super-sensitive to other people,” she adds.

Graeme was also charming and playful. She loved soccer, actively participated in swimming since the age of 3, and was a diving champion by the age of 6. Despite being one of the youngest competitors, she won a third-place medal at a local dive meet in the summer of 2001 — an accomplishment she treasured.

On June 15, 2002, the day Graeme passed away, she had just completed first grade. More than anyone, it is her twin who has felt the deepest loss. This year, for the first time since Graeme’s death, Jackie celebrated her birthday. “It’s been horrible for her. It’s still hard,” Nancy says. “Twins grow up doing everything together. You never can fill the loss, but you can try. You can keep that twin’s memory alive.”

Nancy is doing just that by sharing memories of Graeme with Jackie and also taking action in her sister’s name. “I think of her and it just makes me smile,” she says. “Here was this protective little girl, who wouldn’t let anybody badmouth her twin, who had friends who were wounded or insecure, my great heroine for the underdog, and I’m thinking of her the same way now.”


• VGB Resource Center

Find additional articles and more information on the VGB Pool and Spa Safety Act on our online resource center.