We are so grateful to all of our donors who make our mission possible.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
Our social media accounts are filled with Then/Now photos, Sunrise facts and Childhood Cancer Awareness statistics.
Find highlights from Sunrise’s #GoGold Childhood Cancer Awareness month campaign, click here to like and follow!
#GoGoldforSunrise #itsthebestcamp #untiltheresacure
From Virtual to In-Person Campers:
Ethan and Emery’s Journey with Horizon Day Camp–Baltimore
The name Ethan means “firm” and “strong” in Hebrew and it’s perfectly fitting for Horizon Day Camp–Baltimore camper Ethan. As we honor Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in September and throughout the year, please read Ethan’s story of strength and courage.
On Ethan’s 7th birthday, which was in July 2019, Ethan was diagnosed with Pre-B Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. He was treated at Johns Hopkins Children’s Hospital for 2.5 years. “It was a tough, long road, but Ethan proved what it meant to be #EthanStrong,” shared Ethan’s parents, Erin and Khia.
Erin and Khia learned of Horizon Day Camp’s virtual program in 2020, soon after COVID-19 hit making their family crisis that much more frightening. The family had been living in isolation for months as Ethan had a compromised immune system. When Erin and Khia learned of Horizon’s virtual camp, they signed up Ethan and his sister Emery right away. “The experience Ethan and Emery had that summer playing, laughing, doing daily projects, meeting friends, and so much more – warmed our hearts,” said Erin. “It became a family ritual to sing in the kitchen each morning. Ethan and Emery were just happy kids!”
Still not ready for in-person camp in 2021, Ethan and Emery took part in a second summer of virtual camp. And then came the summer of 2022, when Ethan and Emery could finally attend camp in person.
“Ethan and Emery came home every day talking about ice cream, water slides, swim time, carnivals, science and art projects, interactions with friends, and the list goes on,” said Khia. “We loved pulling up to camp each day and being greeted so enthusiastically by the staff. It’s like a party at drop-off each day!”
Erin added, “To know that the kids were safe with doctors, nurses, and a caring staff looking out for them, and that they were making friends, having fun, and happy was a blessing. It’s just an incredible service, and we are so happy that we are part of the Horizon/Sunrise family. The evolution from virtual camp to in-person camp has been amazing, and we can’t wait for what is next!”
Sunrise Event – A Joyful Transition
Sunrise President & CEO Arnie Preminger’s favorite story about Nina Pickett, who served as Sunrise Board Chair from July 2014 to July 2022, starts with the fact that she didn’t want to meet with him. “We always laugh about that,” said Arnie, adding that Nina, as Senior Director of Pediatrics at Memorial Sloan Kettering, was understandably protective of her patients. “I always imagined,” said Arnie, “that she (Nina) had to field hundreds of requests each year from a myriad of individuals and organizations that wanted to engage with Sloan Kettering. Thus a big part of her job was to sort out the truly promising ones from those that were well-intentioned but not necessarily credible.” When Nina eventually did agree to see him, “she asked all the right questions and some that I didn’t even expect.” Fast-forwarding to Nina as Board Chair, “Sunrise became part and parcel of her soul,” praised Arnie. “Nina made sure that we never lost sight of the kids.”
As immediate past chair, Nina will continue to be a part of the guiding force of Sunrise and is working with her successor Joy Zelin to assist with the transition of the role. Sunrise’s new Board Chair, Joy, “brings immense positivity to the table that is infectious,” said Arnie. “Joy has already proven herself over and over again as a donor, a connector, and as a board member. Now, in her new role as Board Chair, she will be an incredible asset in furthering the Sunrise mission.”
Arnie is a big fan of both (in case you can’t tell!) and is sure that the Sunrise family will be as well. Please join Arnie and the Sunrise Staff in saluting Nina and welcoming Joy!
Sunrise Update – Horizon Summer Dreams
Horizon Day Camp hosted its annual Summer Dreams Concert Series with events in July and August. The series kicked off in style with a special celebration on the Baltimore waterfront at Living Classrooms, honoring Karma for Cara Foundation. Jill and Eric Becker accepted the Honoree award and delivered compelling remarks, while Melanie Kabia followed with an inspiring parent testimonial. Summer Dreams was filled with wonderful hospitality and musical entertainment, culminating with a special performance from Noah and the Rainmakers. The Kahlert Foundation again led a $25,000 matching gift challenge. Contributions can still be made at www.horizondaycamp.org.
Sunrise Supporter Spotlight: Evan Cagner
In August, long-time Sunrise supporter and board member Evan Cagner completed his greatest challenge yet for the Sunrise Association. Evan conquered a challenge called Everesting, which is climbing the equivalent of Mount Everest—29,029 vertical feet. With a group of 200 people, Evan climbed Snowbasin Mountain in Utah 13 times within the set 36-hour time period to achieve that distance, with the larger goal of helping to raise money to send children with cancer and their siblings to Sunrise Day Camps.
“I always like challenges,” said Evan, “and I felt that this climb and challenge should be for a bigger purpose than just climbing a mountain.”
Evan’s goal is to raise the amount of feet that he climbed in dollars, which is almost the cost of providing five children with a fantastic, fun-filled summer at Sunrise Day Camp. To help Evan reach these new heights for Sunrise, contributions to his campaign can be made at www.sunrise-walks.org/everesting/Donate.
Sunrise Salutes: Josh Krinick & Dan Silver
Congratulations to Josh Krinick, who last month was honored for being selected as a Long Island Business News 30 Under 30, and to Dan Silver, for the 40 Under 40 honor!
The awards honor bright and dynamic young professionals by age category who contribute to the Long Island community through public service, and who have made significant strides in business. Josh is a rockstar who has been building his career with Sunrise since 2009 when he started as a counselor and continued in 2014 when he joined Sunrise full time. Dan is a vibrant entrepreneur who also joined the Sunrise family as a counselor and is now assistant director of Sunrise Day Camp–Long Island.
Sunrise News – A Visit from Friends
On September 1, all tenth graders at Friends Academy in Locust Valley, NY visited Sunrise Day Camp–Long Island. Long Island Camp Director & Regional Director of NY Camps Deanna Slade greeted the 100 students the Sunrise way – at round up, of course! – and helped them make connections to Sunrise programs and campers. “Sunrise makes children with cancer feel like kids again,” Deanna explained, and along with other Sunrise staffers discussed ways to get involved in Sunrise programs throughout the year and led student groups on tours of the campgrounds.
“As I was getting my tour, I realized how thought through every single building and structure is to accommodate the kids who attend Sunrise,” noted student Helene Prestandrea. “There are so many activity options so that every kid can participate in something of their interest. It’s an amazing place and I would love to volunteer one day.”
Providing opportunities for kids to volunteer for a meaningful cause is why Friends Academy History Teacher and 11th Grade Dean of Students Jared Gervais is thrilled that the school’s partnership with Sunrise continues to grow. “Sunrise really aligns with what we aim to do and the values that we want to teach our children,” said Gervais. “We always strive to give back to the community and in addition to academics, emphasize that other aspect of character development.” That’s the way to “teach your children well!”
Sunrise Spotlight – Sunrise on Wheels in Israel
Sunrise on Wheels in Israel is rolling right along! We are boasting three in-hospital programs:
1) Rambam Medical Center in Haifa
2) Hadassah Ein Kerem in Jerusalem
3) Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva
Our team of coordinators and volunteers there engage with patients in waiting rooms, infusion centers, and at bedside. It feels just like our in-hospital programs in America, except the game boxes of Candy Land, Let’s Go Fishin’, and Connect 4 are in Hebrew and Arabic!
Rambam and Soroka hosted special in-hospital camp weeks during August when the Israel team brought special camp games and activities right into the hospital for an entire week of camp fun! The program theme was world travel. The kids did several activities throughout the week getting ready for their flights to a different country every day, including England, Italy, Native America, and then back to Israel! Stay tuned for more fantastic news and updates on our Sunrise on Wheels/Israel programs.
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.