Abigail’s Sunshine: Finding Joy at Sunrise Day Camp

Abigail Sunrise Day Camp Pearl RiverAbigail was born on November 28, 2014. When she was seven months old, she was diagnosed with cancer. At her six-month visit to the pediatrician, a few things were off – she wasn’t sitting up, she was very quiet, and the circumference of her head was more than average. After several tests and MRIs, Abi’s parents, Diedra and Shaun, learned that their beautiful baby girl had a low-grade glioma, or brain tumor. It is rare that people with these tumors are cured. Abi was so young that inserting the port for her chemotherapy treatments was a challenge. Hospital visits and infusions became the family’s new normal.

Abi’s baby brother, Alex, arrived in 2018. Shortly after his birth the family learned about the Sunrise Association from the Child Life staff at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in New York. They were so incredibly grateful to learn about Sunrise because their life had been turned upside down. Abi joined Sunrise virtual camp, SunriseVX, in 2020 and was enthralled with the program and staff. Both Abi and Alex participated in SunriseVX in 2021 and then attended in-person camp at Pearl River in 2022. The kids talked about swimming and the pool all summer, but also really enjoyed gaga and just being with their counselors and friends. “Sunrise was a huge help in so many ways!” said Diedra. “We cannot wait until Summer 2023!”