About Us

Imagine

…you’re a 10-year-old boy with cancer and can’t play basketball with your friends

…you’re 3-years-old, have cancer and have never met other children outside the hospital

…your sibling has cancer and you can’t bring friends home for fear of infection

your child has cancer

 

DSC_0854When a child is diagnosed with cancer, the pain and suffering they endure is unfathomable.  It also turns the entire family’s world upside down in ways never before imagined.

Providing memorable summers since 2006 for children ages 3 ½–16, Sunrise Day Camps bring the simple pleasures of childhood back to children struggling with cancer, changing months of loneliness and isolation into summers filled with sunshine, laughter and happiness. And because Sunrise is a day camp, it does all this while allowing the children to continue their medical treatment and enjoy the comfort and safety of their own homes at night. There are currently five Sunrise Day Camps  — two in New York (on Long Island & in Pearl River) and two in Israel (Even Yehuda and Be’er Sheva).    In 2016, two new camps will open in Staten Island, NY, and Baltimore, MD. Sunrise Day Camps are affiliated with 29 renowned hospitals and medical centers. Sunrise Sundays and Fun-days offer children exciting activities and events when school is not in session; Sunrise on Wheels is a one-of-a-kind program that provides hours of Sunrise-fun to children undergoing treatment in pediatric oncology units of participating hospitals.

Sunrise . . . From a Dream Into a Reality

DSC_0887Sunrise Day Camp began as a “dream” of Sunrise Association President & CEO Arnie Preminger.  After attending a benefit concert for Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang Camp (a sleep-away camp for children with life-threatening illness), the dreaming began.  Having built and operated summer day camps for more than 30 years at the Friedberg JCC in Oceanside, NY, Arnie researched the existence of summer-long day camps for children with cancer, but to his surprise, found none.

After intensive research and planning, the first Sunrise Day Camp was opened on Long Island in 2006 – the first and only day camp in the world, offered free of charge, for children with cancer and their siblings.  Four renowned pediatric oncology facilities had signed on as affiliates, one million dollars had been raised, and the campgrounds prepared. That summer 96 children, including siblings, rediscovered the magic of friendship and the joy of play at the Henry Kaufmann Campground in Wheatley Heights – all free of charge. The sounds of medical monitors were replaced with laughter, and the feelings of cold machines and sharp needles quickly disappeared with warm hugs from counselors and new friends.

Unlike similar sleep-away camps that are offered for only 1-2 weeks, Sunrise allows children in active treatment to continue with their home doctors, while attending camp each day. This unique concept allows children the comfort of sleeping in their own beds each night – a comfort not only for the campers, but for their parents as well.

Parents have peace of mind when their children attend Sunrise. All activities at camp are designed with special features to best accommodate chronically ill children, with medical personnel always available to provide expert care if needed.

footer_logoSunrise Day Camp-Staten Island is a proud member of the Sunrise Association, whose mission is to bring back the joys of childhood to children with cancer and their siblings world-wide, through the creation of Sunrise Day Camps, Year-Round Programs and In-Hospital Recreational Activities, all offered free of charge. The JCC of Staten Island is partnering with Catholic Charities of Staten Island and will be utilizing the facilities at Mt Loretto including a building and other parts of the property. This setting will serve as Sunrise Day Camp’s home base throughout the summer.