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Teams and Walkers
When our 3-year-old daughter, Beatrice, was diagnosed with High-Risk Neuroblastoma our world flipped upside down. Things we once took for granted as normal daily events now are absent. The dinners, school, family time, visits from friends, all gone. Bea’s best friends became the wonderful nurses and staff of the hospital who took care of her. As a family we were all separated more than we were together and struggled to adjust to this. Not knowing if any sort of normalcy would return.
During her stay at the hospital, Bea met Ms. Jenni, who made the hospital as fun as humanly possible. Bea knew that if she saw Ms. Jenni there would be games, crafts, paint, and glitter as much as her heart desired! She would get so excited to see Ms. Jenni that it would mask the memories of pokes, medicines, and treatments that would also occur during these trips.
When she was strong enough, Ms. Jenni introduced us to Ms. Fran, Ms. Morgan and Sunrise Day Camp. THE MOST AMAZING CAMP and EXACTLY what our daughters needed. For the first time in almost two years the girls both experienced something normal, together! Bea’s cancer wasn’t a factor and she was able to escape the hospital and just enjoy being a kid, while Winnie was able to have fun WITH her sister and not worry about her missing out.
The girls would beg to leave the house for camp the moment they woke up in the morning, and Bea would cry each day when we picked her up. The whole Sunrise group creates an environment so open and accepting, it is truly magical. As I write this, Bea is sitting next to me listing all the reasons she loves camp.. “It is so fun, they are funny, make us dance, sing songs, make slime with us, paint, play music…” the list is endless. The girls looked forward to each and every theme week and would leave camp Friday trying to guess what the next week would be.
As parents, it is impossible not to get emotional writing about their experience and thinking of all the memories they made. Even when Bea had to miss camp for treatment, we would get videos from her friends at camp wishing her well keeping her in good spirits and excited to return. Each and every person associated with the Sunrise Camp has one goal for these special children…fun. It doesn't matter the scenario, they will find a way to make everyone smile while making sure all their “friends” are safe.
While cancer has forever changed our family, we are so grateful that we have had the privilege to be added to the Sunrise family. We will attend every event that we can to make sure our girls get to see and celebrate their friendships that were made and would do anything to support them and their mission. They truly provide families affected by cancer with a sense of normalcy which would be missing without them. It is a truly special camp run by truly exceptional people.