A Ray of Hope: Mia’s Journey to Sunrise Day Camp

Team Mia - Sunrise Day Camp Pearl River

Mia - Sunrise Day Camp Pearl River

On September 17, 2020, Daisy Mendez took her then 3-year-old daughter Mia to the emergency room. Mia had been feeling ill for quite some time. After a round of antibiotics prescribed for strep throat, Mia’s lymph nodes were still swollen. Mia was admitted to the hospital and even after a week’s worth of poking, medicine, scans and MRIs, Daisy had never imagined that the doctor would tell her and her husband,

“Your daughter has what is called Pre B Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.” But he did.

“I remember holding onto Mia’s teddy bear and putting my head down and screaming and crying,” Daisy recalled, after hearing her daughter’s diagnosis. They started treatment right away. Mia was hospitalized for three weeks.

Discharged on October 8, Mia still had a long way to go. During a weekly chemo clinic visit, the Child-Life Specialist at Montefiore briefly introduced Sunrise Day Camp. “We were petrified at the idea of sending our recently diagnosed daughter out on her own,” said Daisy. But on their next visit to the clinic, they watched a video and felt more comfortable, and decided to give Sunrise Day Camp–Pearl River a try. They are forever grateful that they did.

“Sunrise has been a breath of fresh air. When I picked up [Mia and her siblings] from camp that very first day, I could see the excitement in all their eyes. They would not stop talking about the camp, the counselors, the games, the pool – everything,” said Daisy.

“Sunrise has given us back the peace that the diagnosis took from us. We look forward to summer now, when Mia can be a regular kid, surrounded by people who care and love her. Thank you, Sunrise.”