Sunrise Day Camp – the name sounds like a place where any kid would have a great summer. Read further to their slogan, “where children with cancer find a new beginning every day….” – and it’s no longer the every-kid’s camp. We’ve talked before about how our family knows other families directly affected by childhood cancer and how there are foundations and fundraisers going on every day to fight childhood cancer. However, rarely do we hear about how kids with cancer can lead the same kind of life as a “normal” kid, and even more rarely do we hear about the siblings of children with cancer. Located minutes from the border of Nassau and Suffolk counties in Wheatley Heights, Sunrise Day Camp is the only camp in the country dedicated to children with cancer and their siblings, and it is offered free of charge, raising the needed funds from outside sources. Parents of sick children have enough to worry about throughout the year, without needing the added stress of paying for summer camp.
A few years back, I was forwarded an e-mail from a friend about a carnival going on in Syosset that was a fundraiser for Sunrise Day Camp. Reading the e-mail further, I quickly realized that behind this carnival was not Sunrise Day Camp itself, a committee, company or a board of directors. Instead, what I found was that behind this carnival raising money for this amazingly special camp was a local family, making their daughter’s idea a reality. As you read the following story, remember that the initial carnival 4 years ago was the idea of a 3rd grader – and remember how important it is for us as parents to make our kids understand that there are so many people that could benefit from our help.
A few years ago, Robbins Lane Elementary School in Syosset held their annual Walk-A-Thon, declaring that year’s charity Sunrise Day Camp. The school told the kids a little bit about the organization they were raising money and what they said stuck with a 3rd grader named Alyssa – not because she knew anyone who had gone there or had cancer, but more because of what the camp actually was. A few months later, Alyssa was in Hebrew School and a Community Outreach Coordinator from Sunrise Day Camp came in to speak to her class about Team Sunrise, a unique kids-helping-kids opportunity to give back to the community by holding a fundraising event for the benefit of Sunrise Day Camp. Alyssa came home and told her mom she wanted to do something to raise money for the camp, although she wasn’t sure exactly what. Her mom, Janie, agreed that raising money was a great idea and told Alyssa to think about what she would want to do. Like so many moms, Janie worked a full time job, managed her kids and household and figured that Alyssa would come up with something relatively simple and easily doable, like selling lemonade and cookies outside their house. But a month later when Alyssa came to her mom and said “I want to do a carnival for Sunrise,” Janie almost fell over. Not wanting to tell her daughter that she couldn’t do something that was clearly very important to her, Janie and her family enlisted the help of donations from local merchants, neighbors, friends and community and spent the next 7 weeks organizing the first Old Time Neighborhood Carnival, complete with games, raffle prizes, refreshments and so much more! Over the past three years, the Old Time Neighborhood Carnivals have raised over $25,000!!
Join Alyssa, her family and friends and Long Island community this Saturday, May 21, from noon to 4pm for the 4th Annual Old Time Neighborhood Carnival with games, raffles, blow-ups and so much more! Proceeds from this fundraiser will go to Sunrise Day Camp, the only camp in the nation dedicated to children with cancer and their siblings.
Birchwood Court West, Syosset
Rain date May 23