Borough President Vito Fossella announced an allocation of $45,000 in discretionary funding from our office to Sunrise Day Camp to cover the transportation costs for the campers.
Sunrise Day Camp is the world’s first full-summer day camp for children with cancer and their siblings, provided completely free of charge. The Lucille & Jay Chazanoff Sunrise Day Camp-Staten Island, which is administered by the Joan & Alan Bernikow JCC of Staten Island, is the only day camp of its kind in New York City. The camp, which is located on the grounds of Staten Island Academy, serves over 140 children every year. Activities include sports, music, arts & crafts, swimming, and other games.
“For a few precious moments, kids battling cancer can just be kids and enjoy the simple pleasures of camp,” said Borough President Fossella. “Just as importantly, their siblings get to go. Maybe, they’re not the individuals with the disease or illnesses, but they are suffering, too. It also makes an important difference in the lives of their biggest cheerleaders and best friends -- their parents. There is a fear of allowing your sick child to go to camp and then there is that moment when you can finally have the freedom to say, ‘it’s going to be OK.’ We are very humbled to be able to support Sunrise Day Camp because it is life-changing in so many ways.”
JCC Chief Executive Officer Orit Lender thanked Borough President Fossella for “allocating this crucial funding that has helped us provide camp services to families of children with cancer.
“We get to see the impact of this funding all summer when we see the big smiles on our campers’ faces," he said. "We are so grateful for the support of elected officials in our community, as well as individual donors and sponsors who make sure we can support our campers and their families every year.”
Melisa Kolenovic described how Sunrise Day Camp has helped her family cope.
“When our lives were turned upside down by the devastating news of my son Orson’s diagnosis, we entered a world of uncertainty, fear, and unimaginable challenges," she said. "But in the midst of this darkness, glimmers of light emerged -- one of them was Sunrise. At Sunrise, our children find solace in knowing they are not alone in their fight. And this camp is more than just a retreat for our children, it's a lifeline for families like ours. Sunrise not only provides respite for our children but also grants us a much-needed break from the constant worry and stress that cancer has brought into our lives. We can let go of our anxieties and trust that our children are in the hands of people who understand how dark it can get through this struggle. It's an opportunity for us to recharge our spirits and find the strength to continue fighting alongside our brave little warriors. Sunrise is a testament to the power of compassion, love, and support.”