Sunrise Scoop - October 2022

Sunrise Highlights

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

Mia loves her counselor Phoebe!
Mia with her family

Meet Mia

Mia and her family are honored to be ambassadors for SunriseWALKS 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.”  

Sunrise Event – Hockey with a Heart  

What’s not to love about hockey – especially when Sunrise is a part of it! We are excited to be a part of the New York Islanders Hockey with a Heart program. Join us on Saturday, October 29 at UBS Arena as the New York Islanders take on Stanley Cup Champions, the Colorado Avalanche at 7:30 PM. A Sunrise camper will serve as the game’s honorary flag captain, campers will be featured on the big screen throughout the game, our mission will be highlighted, and we will receive a portion of their 50/50 raffle. A percentage of ticket proceeds purchased at our link will also be donated to Sunrise – click here to purchase your tickets and please share the link with friends and family!

Jason Garrett and wife Brill delivering goodies to a fan!

Sunrise News – Destination Dallas  

You may not know this, but Sunrise Association is looking to expand our services across the United States, eventually to provide our special brand of magic to one-third of American children suffering from cancer. With this in mind, in September, we focused our efforts on Dallas-Fort Worth, as the community has four significant pediatric oncology hospitals caring for thousands of children and is one of our targets for expansion. We’re already providing the community with Wheels Up! – our virtual hospital program – and SunriseVX – our virtual camp. Next step was to do something special for September, Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, so we created an arts, crafts and toy drive for the community! Supporters across Dallas-Fort Worth responded generously by filling Sunrise collection boxes at several locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth community. With partners, Five Below (42 of their stores participated!), the JCC of Dallas, CW33, American Airlines and local Aflac offices, the drive was a huge hit!   

Over 2,000 items were collected and delivered to three out of the four hospitals in early October.  Then on October 12, former head coach of the Dallas Cowboys Jason Garrett and his wife Brill, along with representatives from our partners delivered the remaining items to Medical City Children’s Hospital. Our hospital partners were thrilled beyond words! It was an extraordinary effort by multiple partners and the smiles on the children’s faces really said it all! Learn more at

Sunrise News – AAMCF Donation 

The American Amusement Machine Association (AAMA) and its Charitable Foundation (AAMCF) held its Annual Meeting and Gala at the Westin Hotel in Lombard, Illinois from September 19 to 23. Bob Geschine, President and CFO of H. Betti Industries, was honored at the Gala and as honoree was allowed to donate funds raised to a charity of his choice. Through Bob’s generosity, together with the generosity of the Association members, including David Cohen and Allen Weisberg, Sunrise Association was presented with a $175,000 donation – the largest in AAMCF’s history! 

“Bob was moved by his visit to Sunrise Day Camp–Long Island in 2019 and noted that the AAMA and its members are in the same business as Sunrise, bringing joy to children,” said Sunrise’s Senior Development Director Bonni Gould, who attended the Chicago event and accepted the generous donation with Sunrise President and CEO Arnie Preminger.  

Allen Weisberg, AAMCF Vice President & CEO Apple Industries, is also a Sunrise supporter. “I’ve been involved with Sunrise Association for a number of years and have found them to be one of the most dedicated, committed and compassionate groups I’ve ever been a part of,” said Allen. “The work they do makes a remarkable difference in the lives of children and their families.”

From left: Holly Hampton, incoming President AAMCF & Director of Innovation at Bay Tek Games; Bonni Gould; Tina Schwartz, Executive Director at AAMCF; Arnie Preminger; Allen Weisberg.
The 2022 Rise Up for Sunrise instructors and participants.

Sunrise Event – SunriseWALKS…and runs! 

In September, SunriseWALKS held our 2nd annual Rise Up for Sunrise Fitness and Wellness event, right on our Long Island campgrounds! Thanks to the help of six incredible instructors, we had a wonderful turnout and celebrated the energy and love that camp brings to our families and children with cancer every summer. Rise Up raised over $13,800 – enough money to send two children to camp this summer! Thank you to everyone who participated, donated and supported our event! To learn how you can get involved next year, please contact 

We are so excited to announce SunriseWALKS’ official partnership with the 2023 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, happening next fall! We are looking forward to joining forces with the running community to start our adventure into marathons – and we are looking for runners to join us in raising money for SunriseWALKS! If you or someone you know is interested in running in this marathon, or would like to be considered for others, please email 

To learn more about our fall walkathons, and to learn more about our upcoming community events, please visit 

We couldn’t make these strides without YOU!

Sunrise Event – Cider for Sunrise  

On September 10 Van Houten Farms and Rockland Cider Works hosted a Cider for Sunrise event to benefit Sunrise Day Camp–Pearl River. It was a beautiful day for a fall festival with live music, raffles, local vendors and more – to raise crucial funds and awareness for Sunrise. A big shoutout to our hosts who have been longtime supporters of Sunrise. 

From left: Darin and Elisabeth Van Houten of Van Houten Farms; Sunrise Day Camp–Pearl River campers Sophia and Luka; and Michelle Warsoff, Regional Director, SunriseWALKS Pearl River.

Supporter Spotlight – Sari & Alison Brenner  

Supporter Sari Brenner is baking a difference and continuing a family tradition of Sunrise support. Last month Sari and three of her friends baked brownies and cake and sold them on the corner of her block. Sari and her mom, Alison, dropped off a portion of the money raised through the bake sale to Sunrise headquarters in Oceanside.  

Sari’s grandfather, Stu Brenner, had been involved in Sunrise since day one. “Watching Sari follow in the footsteps of her grandpa (Papa) Stu, who helped to create this organization, is very meaningful to our family,” said Alison. Sari plans to continue her support. “I hope that by donating to Sunrise, I can help make a difference for kids and families in need,” said Sari. “I know how much I love going to camp and want everyone to enjoy their summers as much as I do.” 

Sunrise In the News

Sunrise was featured this month in a great article on! CLICK HERE to read the story.

Please note: The Sunrise Association policy requires that all event attendees be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. 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 Sunrise Association children, staff and guests.