…you’re a 10-year-old boy with cancer and can’t play basketball with your friends
…you’re 3-years-old, have cancer and have never met other children outside the hospital
…your sibling has cancer and you can’t bring friends home for fear of infection
…your child has cancer
When a child is diagnosed with cancer, the pain and suffering they endure is unfathomable. It also turns the entire family’s world upside down in ways never before imagined.
Childhood cancer does not discriminate, sparing no ethnic group, socio-economic class or geographic region (source: CDC) but incredible progress has been made, with more than 80 percent of children and adolescents who are diagnosed with cancer living at least 5 years after their diagnosis (source: National Cancer Institute).
While the physical and mental effects of cancer are hard to ignore, the financial impact on the family is often overlooked. It is common for one parent to stop working to manage their child’s disease – hospital stays, doctors’ appointments and chemotherapy. Having one less source of income, combined with endless medical bills, takes a devastating toll on the family’s financial health.
Where children with cancer find a new beginning every day…
The Sunrise Association began as a “dream” of President & CEO Arnie Preminger. After attending a benefit concert for Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang Camp (a sleep-away camp for children with life-threatening illness), the dreaming began. Having built and operated summer day camps for more than 30 years at the Friedberg JCC, Arnie researched the existence of summer-long day camps for children with cancer, but to his surprise, found none.
After intensive research and planning, the first Sunrise Day Camp was opened on Long Island in 2006 – the first and only day camp in the world, offered free of charge, for children with cancer and their siblings. Four renowned pediatric oncology facilities had signed on as affiliates, one million dollars had been raised, and the campgrounds prepared. That summer 96 children, including siblings, rediscovered the magic of friendship and the joy of play at the Henry Kaufmann Campground in Wheatley Heights – all free of charge. The sounds of medical monitors were replaced with laughter, and the feelings of cold machines and sharp needles quickly disappeared with warm hugs from counselors and new friends.
Unlike similar sleep-away camps that are offered for only 1-2 weeks, Sunrise allows children in active treatment to continue with their home doctors, while attending camp each day. This unique concept allows children the comfort of sleeping in their own beds each night – a comfort not only for the campers, but for their parents as well.
Parents have peace of mind when their children attend Sunrise. All activities at camp are designed with special features to best accommodate chronically ill children, with medical personnel always available to provide expert care if needed.
When a child has cancer, it affects the entire family with siblings often feeling ignored since much of their parents’ time needs to be devoted to the ill child. At Sunrise, siblings have the opportunity to play and interact as other brothers and sisters do; they are free to be with friends in a very normal, fun way while escaping the constant worry often found in a home with a chronically ill child. It also helps them better understand and deal with their sibling’s illness and their own feelings.
Camp continues throughout the year with Sunrise Sundays and Sunrise Fun-days during school holiday breaks, giving campers an opportunity to reunite, make new friends and have a wonderful camp experience every season of the year!
Clinic days for children undergoing treatment are often long and difficult for both the children and their families. Sunrise has changed that with Sunrise on Wheels, an incredible, inspiring program. A tie-dyed trunk filled with toys, games and netbooks (for the parents!) is rolled into the waiting room turning a dreary day into one of magic and fun.
If a child is hospitalized for any reason, one of the Sunshine from Sunrise staff or volunteers will visit with plenty of smiles and even a bag of goodies.
With such enormous success and the ability to enhance the lives of thousands of children and their families since 2006, the Sunrise Association was incorporated to further the Sunrise Day Camp mission around the world.
The Sunrise Association currently has many functions:
- Operating the existing Sunrise Day Camps in New York (Long Island, Pearl River & Staten Island) and Horizon Day Camp (in Baltimore, MD) as well as their year-round programs (Sunrise Sundays & Sunrise Fundays), Sunrise on Wheels and Sunshine from Sunrise.
- Establishing, guiding and overseeing new Sunrise Day Camps and year-round programs through partnerships with other non-profit organizations around the world, bringing the magic created in New York and Israel to children everywhere
- Creating relationships with new pediatric oncology hospitals while maintain current relationships
- Overseeing the operations of Sunrise Israel
- Fundraising for the Sunrise Association so that children with cancer and their siblings can just be children
Sunrise Association Mission Statement
The mission of the Sunrise Association is to bring back the joys of childhood to children with cancer and their siblings world-wide, through the creation of Sunrise Day Camps, Year-Round Programs and In-Hospital Recreational Activities, all offered free of charge.
- Since 2006, Sunrise has touched the lives of more than 10,000 individuals – children who are sick, siblings, parents, staff, donors and volunteers
- Today, nearly 1,400 children attend our 8 camps (Sunrise Day Camp-Long Island, Sunrise Day Camp-Pearl River, Sunrise Day Camp-Staten Island, Horizon Day Camp in Baltimore, MD, 3 Sunrise Israel camps and Aurora Day Camp in Atlanta, GA opening June 2018)
- Nearly 3,000 children benefit each year from Sunrise’s year-round programs both at camp and at 30 affiliated pediatric oncology hospitals in the NY metro region
- Sunrise Day Camp-Long Island is entering its 13th year of “healing” children
- Sunrise Israel is celebrating its 8th year of bringing miles of smiles
- Sunrise on Wheels is celebrating 8 years and is currently bringing magic to over 2,000 children each year in 15 hospitals on Long Island, New York City, Staten Island, New Jersey, Westchester, and Baltimore
- All of Sunrise’s programs are always free of charge and made possible through the generosity of our donors. Multiple fundraisers, large and small, are held all year from elementary school bake sales to our record-breaking golf outing and our community-wide SunriseWALKS. The Sunrise Association is also fortunate in attracting a number of corporate partners who have made contributing to our unique programs an integral part of the corporate culture.
The Sunrise Association is dedicated to bringing back childhood to children around the world who have had theirs tragically taken away. Working with partner agencies around the world, the Sunrise Association will to bring the magic created in New York and Israel to children everywhere, through the opening of new camps and multiple in-hospital programs.