Sunrise Scoop - May 2022

Sunrise Highlights

We are so grateful to all of our donors who make our mission possible.

Horizon Day Camp–Baltimore Family Spotlight

My name is Lindsey O’Hara. Twin mom, nurse, and now—a cancer mom. 

I had made a career of being a caregiver as a nurse. I felt I was prepared for anything until my family experienced a crisis of our own—our four-year-old son, Flynn, was admitted to the hospital for leukemia. I went through a whirlwind of emotions—how do I explain this to a four-year-old, what do I tell his twin, Bennett, and their sister Nellie? Flynn LOVES his friends and family and LOVES being a kid. He spent that first week in the hospital feeling very sad, scared, and defeated. He missed his friends and family so much. He had never spent this much time away from his twin, Bennett.

When he got home, we adjusted to a new normal of frequent hospital visits for chemotherapy, blood, and platelet transfusions, and unplanned hospital admissions…all while during a pandemic. There were no visitors allowed in the hospital.

We began to see the light at the end of the tunnel with Flynn as we headed into the maintenance phase that would last from August 2021 to February 2023. Then, the unthinkable happened. Something that had a less than 1% chance of happening. On August 2, 2021, Bennett was diagnosed with leukemia too. Both of our sons had cancer.

Last summer, as Flynn neared the end of active treatment and into maintenance, he was able to finally become a kid again and go to Horizon Day Camp with Bennett and Nellie. This was the opportunity we had been waiting for—Flynn, Bennett, and Nellie to be back together again every day having fun and being kids. When Bennett was diagnosed in August, we had to pull all the kids out of camp abruptly. Horizon continued being there for us. Through all the challenges, Horizon has been a place that provided some comfort and normalcy amid a situation that was otherwise far from normal.

Today as I sit here to write this, Bennett is currently doing great, and is beginning the phase of treatment right before maintenance. Flynn has been going through maintenance since August.  Flynn, Bennett, and Nellie recently enjoyed a drive-in movie night hosted by Horizon, which was such a fun event coming off some pretty rocky weeks. They are already singing “Horizon Day Camp, it’s the best camp” as they get excited for their second summer at Horizon. My husband and I are really looking forward to seeing the three of them be kids and enjoy everything Horizon Day Camp has to offer—making new friends, having new experiences, swimming, ice cream, singing, dancing, crafting, carnivals, inflatable slides, and more surprise days!

I don’t know what the future holds for our family, but I do know that no matter what we will continue to endure, and the support we have around us will keep us going. Horizon is a family that we have joined, and they have become an essential piece of “Flynn’s Army” and “Bennett’s Brigade.”

Songs for Sunrise-Greater Philapelphia with Opera Star, Denyce Graves

Denyce Graves is one of the most celebrated vocalists of our time. She is adored by fans around the world, called on by Presidents to sing for our nation, and was named an “operatic superstar of the 21st Century” by USA TODAY. The superstar singer is also a Sunrise supporter!    

On May 26, Graves is scheduled to perform at a special “Songs for Sunrise” benefit to raise funds for Sunrise Day Camp–Greater Philadelphia, which will welcome children with cancer and their siblings at its inaugural season this summer. “These  children need us, perhaps, more than others,” Graves said. “I wanted to help give them back their childhood – and that’s what Sunrise Day Camp–Greater Philadelphia does so well.”   

Graves has performed on five continents, playing title roles in famous opera houses and concert halls around the world. High-profile performances include the inauguration of President George W. Bush, the September 11 Memorial Concert at the National Cathedral, and a sold-out Madison Square Garden with Andrea Bocelli. Her professional work has also taken her to… Sesame Street! “I take great pleasure in connecting with my audiences and participating in various programs and activities that help them better enjoy their musical experience,” Graves explained. “Plus, who can say no to Big Bird?” 

  Graves said that the “Songs for Sunrise” benefit is an opportunity to explore audience connections and to be creative with her repertoire. It also brings her back to Philadelphia, which the D.C.-native considers as her “adopted hometown.” Said Graves: “I am especially excited to join Philadelphians as they share their brotherly love and sisterly affection with Sunrise Day Camp–Greater Philadelphia on the occasion of its inaugural year. I’ll see you on May 26!”    

Sunrise gives the star a standing ovation for her support. Brava! And above all, thank you!  

Auction items are LIVE!  Bid on yours today by clicking here.

Join us for Songs for Sunrise!  Get your tickets today at SONGSFORSUNRISE.ORG

Use code: FRIENDOFSUNRISE for a special ticket discount!

Sunrise Day Camp camper Brianna with her mother, Evelyn

Friends of Sunrise  

On May 12, the Friends of Sunrise community came together for the first time in two years to celebrate and honor Denise and Kenneth Faltischek with the Sunrise Champion Award and Melanie Cogan with the Community Partner Award. 

The room was filled with compassion as we listened to the inspirational story from our camp parent Evelyn, and her remarkable daughter, Sunrise Day Camp–Long Island camper Brianna. We raised over $700,000 to send children to camp this summer! if you were unable to attend and would like to donate visit our event website:

A special thank you to Glen Head Country Club for being our longtime partner and for all our “Friends of Sunrise!” 

L to R: Honorees, Denise and Kenneth Faltischek and Community Partner Award recipient, Melanie Cogan
2019 Counselor Dante Lawson (2nd from left) brought his friends in support of Aurora

AuroraBREWS Rocks Atlanta, Georgia! 

 On Sunday, April 24, close to 100 people showed up for the inaugural AuroraBREWS event at Monday Night Brewing! There was a special energy in the room – and it was clear by the end that AuroraBREWS will be a feature of Aurora’s special events for years to come. This year, more than $6,800 was raised to support Aurora through sponsorship, ticket sales, and a silent auction.

2019 Counselor Molly Messerly (1st from left) brought her friends and family in support of Aurora
Sunrise Day Camp–Pearl River camper Madison with her parents

We Rocked the River ‘80s Style! 

On Thursday, April 28, our annual Rock the River concert returned in-person at the Capitol Theatre. We celebrated that 2022 will be the 10th summer of Sunrise Day CampPearl River and honored Allison & Larry Fehrenbaker. The dedicated event chairs, committee, and supporters raised over $450,000 to send children to camp this summer.  

Sunrise Day Camp–Pearl River camper Madison and her parents shared their Sunrise story, telling the audience, “You give our children a special community to be a part of. This will leave an imprint on all of our lives forever.”  

Rock the River honorees, Allison & Larry Fehrenbaker, and their children

Horizon Sunday Funday Extravaganza! 

Campers from Horizon Day Camp–Baltimore recently enjoyed “Sunday Funday” celebrations over consecutive weekends. The first funday event was a private drive-in movie featuring the film Encanto, chosen by popular demand among the campers. Special thanks to our friends at McDonogh School for hosting the movie on its beautiful campus along with movie management company Big Screen Flicks. The evening was complete with customary servings of popcorn, soft drinks, and souvenirs for all participants! One week later, campers enjoyed a virtual funday art activity facilitated by Art with a Heart. The art program featured optical illusion art activities and a special butterfly craft. These reunion programs are such a special way for our camp community to have fun together as we look forward to our approaching summer camp season!

It Takes a Village

With 40+ members strong, the AvalonBay Communities Long Island team volunteered their time at Sunrise Day Camp–Long  Island to help us get ready for camp! As the first volunteer group of the season, the team painted, planted, raked, and provided their expertise with general maintenance around the site.

AvalonBay Communities has been a supporter of the Sunrise Association since 2008, our very first summer. Their care and commitment to our children – not just on Long Island but Pearl River and Baltimore too – is embodied in the culture of AvalonBay Communities.

Planting Day 2022 on Long Island

Planting Day was a huge success this year! 

With the help of amazing volunteers, we were able to plant hundreds of flowers to brighten up Sunrise Day Camp–Long Island and get it ready for the 2022 camp season!
We want to extend a special thanks to the Doshi and Rosenberg families for providing the beautiful flowers and the Duke University Alumni team for helping us make camp more colorful!
Thank you for supporting the children of Sunrise!

Please note: Sunrise Association policy requires that all event attendees be fully vaccinated against Covid-19.  Please bring proof of your Covid-19 vaccination to the event. In-person events will be held in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, including local, state, and CDC guidelines, to protect the health and welfare of our staff and guests.