A very personal letter from
President, CEO and Founder of Sunrise Day Camps Association
Now we know…
Like you, I had never been told to stay inside, never scared that I could catch something which – while benign to others – could be deadly to me. I never thought about having to wash my hands every time I touched something that a stranger might have been near. I never worried about who prepared my food, about going to the drugstore . . . about hugging my own children.
In short, I never knew what it felt like to be part of a family in which a child has cancer.
I have come to understand that my new routines are their old ones; that what we are feeling today is what far too many of our families must deal with every day. It has made me more determined to protect what we have built, while at the same time immediately reshaping our core services to meet the rapidly emerging needs of our families brought on by this crisis.
In response to school closings and the suspension of our in-hospital programs, we launched our first new initiative – Sunrise on Screens – a YouTube based-video project that brings the magic of Sunrise right into our campers’ homes and hospital rooms. Immediately following that launch we sent out hundreds of “funletters” to the children in hospital waiting rooms throughout the country, filled with puzzles, stories and games to make the time go faster. In the days ahead, we will launch a live, interactive video-based experience through which our children can join in camp activities and – even if just for a few minutes – forget all about cancer and Covid-19.
We also initiated a comprehensive effort to gather resources community by community, the result of which is a new Information and Referral service – Support from Sunrise – created to guide our families to relevant organizations, whatever their need may be. We assigned more than 35 staff to personally call every one of our families – both past and present – just to touch base, check on them, and make sure they knew how to access these resources.
Our commitment and determination to give our children the magic of childhood in 2020 remains unyielding. What shape these programs will take will be guided by our medical team, as safety must always remain our highest priority. But one way or another we will give our kids a great summer. The coronavirus may limit our activities, but never our imaginations.
But we need your help to do this.
While we may be physically distanced, we’ve never been more socially connected. This year, we are reimagining our SunriseWALKS campaign to be a Virtual Celebration designed to be fun, informative and meaningful for everyone! Your participation can help us raise critical funds and continue to raise awareness for our vital programs.
Now more than ever, we need you. Because now more than ever, they need us.
Sunrise. Because They Need Our Magic Now.
With deepest gratitude,