Zoey’s Courage: A Journey from Diagnosis to Bravery

Joy for Zoey - Sunrise Day Camp Long Island

Joy to Zoey - Sunrise Day Camp Long Island

Anyone who knows Zoey knows that she’s a funny girl who loves telling “dad jokes,” taking pictures, playing sports and making movies. They know they need to work hard to keep up with this ball of energy! What they might not know is that in June of 2020, ball-of-energy Zoey, then age 9, was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. Zoey braved the year of intense treatment that followed with great courage and strength.

Zoey’s parents, Tamara and Wesley, explained that Zoey “had always had her quirks. She fell a lot, walked a little funny, and her speech was little off with a slight slur,” Tamara said. “But we just thought it was a part of growing up and that Zoey would outgrow these things. As parents, you don’t think anything is wrong with your child.”

Until it is. Three years ago, it became apparent that the quirks that Zoey’s family had thought were normal were being caused by a cancerous brain tumor – glioma of the brainstem. Zoey was admitted to inpatient care at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone in New York City. It was there that Zoey’s family met with an amazing neurologist team, who then introduced them to Dr. Sharon Gardner, Zoey’s oncologist.

“After a few days, Dr. Gardner sat me down to explain the one-year treatment plan she had created,” said Tamara. “Because of that treatment plan, as of today, Zoey is stable and no longer needs chemotherapy.” Zoey’s treatment now involves brain scans and follow-up labs, which are time consuming and costly but much less physically challenging.

Tamara shared that Dr. Gardner’s treatment went way beyond medicine. “Dr. Gardner knew of Zoey’s energetic, outgoing personality and helped Zoey stay a kid despite everything going on,” Tamara said. And it was Dr. Gardner who connected Zoey and her twin-sister Ziva with Sunrise Day Camp–Long Island

Zoey and Ziva were beyond thrilled to learn about Sunrise Day Camp and have been going ever since. Sunrise proved to be a game changer and a perfect fit, giving the girls a chance to enjoy the joys of childhood and the magic of summer. There, the twins most love splashing in the pool, cheering and singing during color war and spending time with their friends.

“We can’t thank Sunrise enough for what they’ve done and continue to do,” said Tamara.