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Black Tie International:
First Annual Dare to Dream Benefit

Honorees:  Barry Mandinach, Sara Mandinach, Laurie Girsky and Stephen Girsky
Honorees:  Barry Mandinach, Sara Mandinach, Laurie Girsky and Stephen Girsky




Hundreds of guests raise $700,000 to kick-off The Sunrise Association



Close to 300 guests joined the inaugural honorees, Laurie and Stephen Girsky, and Sara and Barry Mandinach, along with members of Sunrise Association Board of Directors, friends and family for the First Annual Dare to Dream Benefit, held on Thursday, May 8th at the St. Regis New York to raise funds for the newly-formed Sunrise Association. 


Sunrise Day Camp, for children ages 3 1/2 - 16, is the only dedicated full summer day camp in the nation for children with cancer and their siblings. Founded in 2006 on Long Island by the Friedberg JCC, Sunrise Day Camp is designed to meet the emotional, social, recreational and physical needs of these children while allowing them to enjoy the comforts and safety of their own homes at night. Sunrise is offered free of charge to all children being treated for cancer and their siblings.  Last summer, more than 850 children enjoyed day camp at Sunrise’s three locations – Long Island, Israel and the newest camp in Pearl River. Nearly 3,000 children benefit each year from Sunrise’s many year-round programs both at camp and at 20 affiliated pediatric oncology hospitals in the NY metro region.


Dare To Dream celebrated the kick-off of the Sunrise Association which will create, oversee and guide new Sunrise projects – day camps, year-round and in-hospital programs – throughout the world, bringing the magic created in New York and in Israel to children everywhere. The goal of the Sunrise Association is to bring back childhood to children who have had theirs brutally and tragically taken away; it brings back the feeling of warmth on a summer day, the magic of friendship and the joy of play. It doesn’t cure the cancer; rather, it heals the child.


The evening’s celebration was hosted by Jill and Marc Stern and Joy and Steven Zelin, who co-chaired the evening. 


“A heartfelt thanks to our long-time friends and supporters Sara and Barry Mandinach and our wondrous backers and benefactors Laurie andStephen Girsky for allowing us to honor their work to make the lives of our Sunrise children a little brighter,” said Arnie Preminger President and CEO of the Sunrise Association.


“Our deepest thanks and appreciation for the stewardship of this extraordinary event go to Jill and Marc Stern and Joy and Steven Zelin, and their committee who aided in raising $700,000 for the Sunrise Association,” Mr. Preminger added.


The assembled guests heard firsthand how Sunrise Day Camps make a difference in children’s lives.  Camper Sarah Heyne is currently 16 and in 11th grade at Deer Park High School.  Her remarks are excerpted below:


When I was 9 years old and in the fourth grade, I discovered I had a cancer called Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma. You would think I would have cried or freaked out like many kids would. Nope, I remember being so mad instead! I was afraid of missing school and experiencing my hair fall out. You see, when I had cancer, I was very insecure about myself. I never left the house without wearing a bandana and I refused to take it off. I was also really shy so I didn't really speak to anyone.


One day, my mom heard about Sunrise Day Camp and what it had to offer through my hospital, Memorial Sloan Kettering. When I first went to Sunrise Day Camp, I was a Stormer- one of the 3rd thru 5th grade campers. Being a new camper, I was so nervous because I was afraid to talk to new people. Thankfully, I already knew a camper who was from my school – Samantha Perrone.  Sam introduced me to so many new people – people I am still good friends with today.  My sister Kelsey also came with me to camp that first summer, and having the two of them there really helped me a lot.  It was a lot easier than I thought to make new friends, because everyone always had a smile on their face.  I knew I was going to have a fun time.  And I was right.  Because of Sunrise, I was able to open up and talk to many people. I have made so many great friends at Sunrise and I can't wait to return year after year to see
 them again.


Last summer I was a counselor in training.  I enjoyed interacting with the little kids – the 3 ½ year old “Acorns” – I could relate to their issues and loved making them smile.  Sunrise was the one place I could be myself and not feel alone when battling my condition.


Now, here I am 6 years later, in remission, and ready to return to Sunrise this summer to become a counselor! I am so excited – I feel like it’s my chance to help other kids know they aren't alone in their fight.  I want to show them they can participate in the activities and more importantly make lasting friendships, even with an illness.


If it wasn't for Sunrise, I wouldn't be where I am today. Thank you for attending this event and listening to my words. Thank you for your donations which allow me and the friends to attend this special camp year after year.


As long as there is cancer touching the lives of kids like me – I also hope there will always be Sunrise Day Camp for us too.  There are so many kids who deserve to experience the same love, warmth, kindness, and friendship from Sunrise as I have – and with your help –
I know they will. 


For more information on Sunrise Day Camps and the Sunrise Association
please contact Arnie Preminger, CEO & President

For giving opportunities, please contact Beth Fetner, Senior Vice President of Development, Sunrise Association, 15 Neil Court, Oceanside, NY 11572,


joyce brooks, gerard mckeon.  photo by:  rose billings

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