MEET OUR HorizonWALKS AMBASSADORS!
Meet Evy, one of our wonderful HorizonWALKS Camper Ambassadors!
HorizonWALKS Team: "Beez Knees!"
We are excited to have the spunky Evy represent Horizon as one of our HorizonWALKS Camper Ambassadors! Evy is a Horizon Day Camp veteran than brings all of her energy, sunshine, laughs, and heart to everyone she meets. We love having Evy as a part of our Horizon family!
Evy’s mother, Mandy shares her compelling story with us:
“After weeks of trying to find the answers to what was happening to my baby girl, I finally learned what was going on inside her little body. She was diagnosed with Pre B Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. I’ll never forget that moment. Her pediatrician was kind enough to drag me into the hallway, away from Evy, so I could take a moment to fall apart. Then it was time to go home, pack a bag, and head to [Johns] Hopkins. Every day after, has been a riptide of changes. Treatments, fear, needles, procedures, tears, bravery, and emotions. Evy is the toughest person I know. On her first procedure, she was asked if she wanted a wheelchair to take her into surgery. Her response was “Nope! I wanna walk.” She picked up her teddy bear, and off she went. Head strong and bullet proof! I truly admire my daughter.
I’ve always told Evy the truth about her condition and involved her in every aspect of her treatment. So much had been taken from her so quickly. I wanted her to have the power of choice during this time of her life. She is a smart kid and deserved at least that. She suffered through so much pain during her treatment and wanted to give up so many times. She’d really just had enough.
One day, while in clinic, Evy was approached by one of the nicest people we’d ever met. Her name was Fran, and she wore a Horizon T-shirt. She pulled out a trunk full of toys and asked Evy if she wanted to play. Then Fran gave me a wink and told me it was okay if I wanted to go get a cup of coffee. The rest is history. Fran and everyone in the Horizon/Sunrise group has become a part of our family. I feel they do the most important job of all: help a child smile. I’ve watched the staff of Horizon Day Camp, completely transform a child’s day into pure wonder and joy. They know exactly how to be a friend. Evy has made friends with so many members on the Horizon Staff. Some even just call to say “Hi”. If that isn’t amazing, I really don’t know what is.
It’s tough sending your kid to camp, when they are so vulnerable. But if ever there where a place for these babies to grow, and develop while being cared for by truly selfless people, I’d say Horizon is that place. Evy would always come home with a story about swimming or crafts. She would tell me if she felt ill that day and how the nurses really took care of her. They would always call when Evy really didn’t feel well. That point was very reassuring. It’s easy to support Horizon. From day one, without question, they have always supported our family and countless others.”
During virtual camp this summer, Evy had a blast reconnecting with her camp friends, making crafts, and being silly with her mom! We can’t wait to celebrate Evy and her family at HorizonWALKS this year! Evy has previously attended HorizonWALKS for the past two years with her mother, and she loved the moon bounce and carnival snacks – like popcorn and cotton candy! This year, she hopes to meet a famous person.
Join Evy and Mandy with Team Beez Knees this year with HorizonWALKS! Register to walk HERE.
Meet Oliver & Eli, two of our awesome HorizonWALKS Camper Ambassadors!
HorizonWALKS Team: "Team Super Oliver!"
Two of our Horizon Day Camp campers, brothers Oliver and Eli, are spending their second summer at camp with Horizon. These boys have brought joy and sunshine to our camp since day one! They also have a special relationship with the Founder of Race Pace Bicycles, Alex Obriecht – they call him "Pawpaw"! We are proud to partner with our friends at Race Pace Bicycles for HorizonWALKS 2020 - thank you for your support!
Parents of Oliver and Eli, David and Christa Binns recently shared their story:
In the fall of 2018, our youngest son, Oliver was diagnosed with cancer. While in treatment at Sinai Hospital, we met a volunteer with Horizon Day Camp’s in-hospital program, Horizon on Wheels, and my heart jumped after learning about Horizon’s free summer day camp for children with cancer and their siblings.
The first day, Oliver and his brother, Eli were met by enthusiastic and friendly counselors. In fact, every day was a celebration and "The Best Day Ever!" Horizon Day Camp helped our young sons gain independence and make new friends. The days were packed with fun, yet comforting for them to be home each night and sleep in their own beds.
Oliver grew more independent during the seven weeks of camp. He loved riding to Boys Latin School from our home in Westminster on one of Horizon’s buses and became close with an older camper who supported him in a way that only another child with cancer could. Horizon’s trained counselors helped big brother Eli become more confident and make new friends along the way. This camp is a gift to the entire family while allowing us to have time as a couple and even share a lunch date!
Most importantly, our sons now have incredible shared summer camp memories to last a lifetime. This summer, Horizon is there for us again, offering eight weeks of virtual camp with fun, exciting live and prerecorded sessions for the boys to enjoy. I know Horizon Day Camp will be part of our lives for years to come.
Horizon Day Camp is grateful to Christa and David Binns and the entire Race Pace Bicycles Family! Walk with Oliver, Eli, and the Race Pace Bicycles family at HorizonWALKS this fall! Register your team today!
Meet Brooklynn “Brookie”, one of our amazing HorizonWALKS Camper Ambassadors!
HorizonWALKS Team: "Brookie's Cookies"
The Horizon Day Camp community has had the privilege of spending summers with the affable, spunky Brookie since 2017. Her energy abounds, and her smile lights up the whole camp! Some of her favorite camp experiences, according to Brookie, include getting to swim every day, playing in the gym, hanging out with her best friend Batya, and seeing her friends from the hospital at camp. Her mother, Brittany, reflects fondly too about what Horizon Day Camp means for their family:
"Brookie got sick during her first summer at Horizon, and she was hospitalized for a month. To our delight, Horizon staff showed up at the hospital room. I was in shock and awe. This happened very early on in the camp; I didn’t even think they would realize she was gone. They did. They just came by to check on us and give Brookie some comfort gifts from her Horizon family. When they left the hospital room, I knew this organization was something special!"
Under the caring hands of Dr. Yoram Unguru - who is also Horizon Day Camp’s Medical Director – Brookie received intensive care and treatment at The Herman & Walter Samuelson Children’s Hospital at Sinai for her leukemia diagnosis. Doctor Unguru remembers the first time he met Brookie and her family:
“It was arguably was one of the worst days of their lives. It was clear that Brooklynn was not at her best - quite sick and not feeling well. As a result of the large tumor burden, Brooklynn’s belly was swollen, her chest was occupied by a massive collection of tumor cells, and her bone marrow was so full of cancer cells that she limped and could not walk very far. While I examined Brooklynn, she allowed me to push and prod and appropriately resisted. Not so much frustrated with my exam, I got the sense that this spunky 3-year-old wanted to regain a sense of control and understanding for what was amiss. Over the course of the next few days, as she began to feel better, Brooklynn’s true character emerged."
"Simply put, Brooklynn has moxie. She is strong-willed, funny, and like so many kids with cancer, wise beyond her years. On days that Brooklynn came to the clinic or was hospitalized, nurses and residents jockeyed to be assigned to her care. You see, Brooklynn didn’t let a life-threatening, frightening disease like cancer conquer her will nor her spirits. I couldn’t be happier that Horizon is able to give Brooklynn, and so many kids like her, a piece of their childhood back and a semblance of normalcy for her and her family.”
In the most wonderful news, Brookie recently was able to victoriously “ring the bell” at Sinai, signifying her last chemotherapy treatment! Hooray for Brookie! We couldn’t be happier about your perseverance and clean bill of health!
Brookie is so excited for HorizonWALKS 2020, and she invites you to walk with her! According to Brookie, she can’t wait to see the Baltimore Blast Cheerleaders, play with the cheer pom poms, and walk with the amazing, upbeat marching band's drum line again! Brookie - thank you for bringing all the sunshine you do to camp and everyone you meet! Thank you for being a HorizonWALKS Ambassador!