Lower-Hudson Valley Summer Camp is Haven for Kids with Cancer

Time is running out on this post. I am supposed to be telling everyone about this awesome camp called Sunrise in the lower-Hudson Valley whose mission is to celebrate the life of children with life threatening illnesses and show them a great time. The camp features volleyball, basketball, imagination tree house, swimming and ball fields. And, most impressive of all, a sibling option that allows brothers and sisters of campers to come along for a summertime memory. 

I'm supposed to have this post up and ready to go. But, this is a tough conversation, and I am stuck on trying to find the right words. Sunday was national cancer survivor's day and Saturday afternoon I stopped by relay for life. I am speechless right now and feel totally inadequate about relaying information about families enduring this illness. I can only describe it—from my limited point-of-view—as what must be nothing less than a fight for your life. And yes, I've lost someone I couldn't bear to lose. And, haven't so many of us? But, I have no idea what it feels like to fight that hard. And I can't even imagine what it feels like to be a parent with a child in that fight. 

That said, I was blown away in an interview with Alison Rubin - Director of Development at Sunrise Camp, Pearl River. Last year Sunrise served 550 kids on three campuses - Long Island, Israel and Pearl River. A 4th camp is in development in Southern Israel. The mission of Sunrise is to enable 3 1/2 year olds - 16 year olds a campus for summer fun stress-free. That means being super-flexible about the limitations of physical exertion, come-as-you-please status for kids in treatment, and room for a medical director on staff and pediatric oncology nurses. 

One Sunrise participant now in remission said, "I was given another shot at life. I cannot fail to live it to the fullest." 

He returns to camp yearly to see old friends and share smiles with new campers. 

KIDS ENJOY SUNRISE AT NO COST TO THE FAMILY.

You hear that Hudson Valley Moms with a kid in the fight? I hope this news brings you joy! 

Jeremy and Amy Abramson from White Plains are strong-supporters of the camp. They were hoping their nephew Jordan would be able to take part in 2014 camp festivities. But, in December things got progressively wrose, so Jeremy and Amy took the family out to Seattle so that their youngest Emma (then just 5 months old) could meet her cousin and the kids could spend some time together. Jeremy was short on words when he recounted their time together last winter. Understandably so. Finally, he confided in me. "He was brave. It changed everything. It makes you appreciate every day." 

As a board member of Rosenthal Jewish Community Center, Jeremy is part of a committee of people who are dedicated to finding ways to support the financials of the camp. It's free to children who get a referral from their oncologist. It's open to siblings. It's so flexible. They really cater to the kids and their families. Jeremy elaborated, "Siblings: all they hear is 'NO! Friends can’t come over, you can’t go to school.'  It hits them hard. For that reason alone, this place is pretty cool."

On Sunday, June 8th, Jeremy, Amy, Sydney (6), Alex (4) and Emma (10 months) will walk to raise money for Sunrise Camp in support of this great cause and in memory of their dear nephew and counsin Jordan.  Click here to support their walk.

"I was sitting in the dialysis with my nephew 3 or 4 weeks before he passed away. I went downstairs and got him a slice of pizza. My brother-in-law was ecstatic. He said, 'You don’t realize what it’s like for a kid with cancer.. for a parent to watch a kid with cancer eating it’s like the greatest thing in the world.' The financial component is unbelievable. If anyone deserves to have a deductible waived...(it's families with kids fighting cancer)." 

We agree. <3 

Jordan, may your memory be for blessing. 

Thank you Camp Sunrise for the hope you bring.. 

According to cancer.org: Because of major treatment advances in recent decades, more than 80% of children with cancer now survive 5 years or more. Overall, this is a huge increase since the mid-1970s, when the 5-year survival rate was about 60%. ** 

Much Love to all of You and Your Families, Always.