Where a kid can be a kid: JCC Chicago, Sunrise Association offer day camp for kids battling cancer

  • JCC Chicago's Sunrise Day Camp offers days in nature with activities, music and summer fun for kids ages 3-16 battling cancer and their siblings.

    JCC Chicago's Sunrise Day Camp offers days in nature with activities, music and summer fun for kids ages 3-16 battling cancer and their siblings. Courtesy of SunriseWALKS Chicago

 
 
Posted10/25/2022 10:21 AM

For kids battling cancer, the days can be scary, not to mention lonely. Spending days isolated from loved ones, with little to do while cooped up in a hospital room, can take a toll mentally.

That is why JCC (Jewish Community Centers) Chicago is partnering with Sunrise Association to bring Sunrise Day Camp to Lake County next summer.

 

This full-summer day camp is for all kids ages 3 to 16 in treatment for cancer and their siblings. Sunrise Day Camp is a full, eight-week summer program that allows kids to continue their treatment while they get to enjoy all the activities a camp has to offer.

The best part is that it is free, thanks to the generous support of the Hecktman Family Foundation, which has financed the first three years of the camp's operation.

"The Hecktman Family Foundation is thrilled to help incubate a Chicagoland summer day camp for pediatric oncology patients and their siblings," said Hillary Behar Hecktman in an email.

"The partnership between the Sunrise Association and JCC Chicago supports our mission to impact humanity through global and diversified philanthropic endeavors. We believe this program will be an asset for our pediatric oncology community; a place to build friendships, share smiles and find hope."

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To further raise funds for the camp, SunriseWALKS Chicago will take place at 8:30 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 30, at Lake County JCC in Lake Zurich, 23280 N. Old McHenry Road, Lake Zurich.

Ilana Carp, assistant director of Program Marketing for JCC Chicago, talks about the organization and the upcoming walk.

Courtesy of SunriseWALKS ChicagoA new Sunrise Day Camp, for kids battling cancer and their siblings, will be offered next summer in Lake Zurich.
Courtesy of SunriseWALKS ChicagoA new Sunrise Day Camp, for kids battling cancer and their siblings, will be offered next summer in Lake Zurich. -

Q: What is JCC (Jewish Community Centers) Chicago and Sunrise Association? Give a brief overview of what the organizations do and who they serve.

A: JCC (Jewish Community Centers) Chicago, founded in 1903 and rooted in Jewish values, offers a life-affirming journey fostering a connected, inclusive community from birth through senior years.

With a focus on growing good kids and building connections, it is JCC Chicago's mission to strengthen the Jewish community from generation to generation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Today, JCC Chicago serves a diverse population of more than 60,000 community members who learn, grow and thrive through early childhood, day and overnight camps; teen, adult and family offerings; fitness and wellness; aquatics and sports; and special events and happenings year-round.

For more information on JCC Chicago programming, visit www.jccchicago.org.

Q: How many people per year do you serve?

A: JCC Chicago serves more than 65,000 people per year.

Q: What is Sunrise Day Camp?

A: Sunrise Day Camp restores the simple pleasures of childhood for children facing a cancer diagnosis, balancing months of loneliness and isolation with summers filled with sunshine, laughter and friends.

And because Sunrise is a day camp, children are able to continue their medical treatment during summer while participating in camp on their good days.

Unlike most oncology sleep-away camps that offer short programs each summer, Sunrise Day Camp is a full, eight-week summer program that welcomes children as often as they are able to attend.

Courtesy of SunriseWALKS ChicagoWalking and raising funds for SunriseWALKS Chicago allows children with a cancer diagnosis and their siblings attend Sunrise Day Camp Chicago for free. The next walk takes place Sunday, Oct. 30, in Lake Zurich.
Courtesy of SunriseWALKS ChicagoWalking and raising funds for SunriseWALKS Chicago allows children with a cancer diagnosis and their siblings attend Sunrise Day Camp Chicago for free. The next walk takes place Sunday, Oct. 30, in Lake Zurich. -

Q: Tell us about the SunriseWALKS Chicago.

A: This is our first fundraising walk to support Sunrise Day Camp Chicago, which is coming to the Lake County JCC in Lake Zurich in summer 2023.

SunriseWALKS Chicago will take place at 8:30 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 30, at Lake County JCC in Lake Zurich, 23280 N. Old McHenry Road, Lake Zurich.

This family-friendly event invites all ages to walk the 37-acre campus, raise funds for children in need, and enjoy camp-inspired activities such as arts and crafts, face-painting, dance parties and summer treats.

Register at sunrise-walks.org/chicago.

Q: How can people participate?

A: People can:

• Register to walk and raise funds;

• Create a team to have friends and family join them walking and raising funds;

• Volunteer to work at the walk.

To volunteer, visit sunrise-walks.org/chicago.

Q: How can readers help if they can't participate in the event?

A: Readers can donate at sunrise-walks.org/chicago.

Q: What else would you like readers to know?

A: Sunrise Chicago is generously supported by the Hecktman Family Foundation, which has seeded the first three years of camp operations. In addition, the Hecktman Family Foundation will match all gifts to Sunrise Chicago at 1:3 (one dollar for every three donated).

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