Who We Are
Sunrise Day Camp–Chicago, a program of JCC Chicago, brings the simple pleasures of childhood back to children struggling with cancer, changing months of loneliness and isolation into summers filled with sunshine, laughter and happiness. And because Sunrise is a day camp, it does all this while allowing the children to continue their medical treatment and enjoy the comfort and safety of their own homes at night.
Sunrise Day Camp–Chicago, a program of JCC Chicago, is a proud member of the Sunrise Association, whose mission is to bring back the joys of childhood to children with cancer and their siblings worldwide. Sunrise accomplishes this through the creation and oversight of welcoming, inclusive summer day camps, year-round programs and in-hospital recreational activities, all offered free of charge.
2nd Annual SunriseWALKS - Chicago
Sun., October 15 at Lake County JCC in Lake Zurich
Let’s get together and walk as a community to support Sunrise Day Camp-Chicago.
Sign-up to walk as an individual, family or team!
What We Do For Kids with Cancer and Their Siblings
Sunrise Day Camp–Chicago is the world’s first full-summer day camp for children with cancer and their siblings, provided completely free of charge. Sunrise accepts campers who are between 3½ and 16 years old, who are on active treatment for cancer or have been treated within the past 5 years, and the sibling(s) of a child who meets this criteria. Unlike most oncology sleep-away camps that are offered for 1-2 weeks each summer, Sunrise Day Camp allows children to attend camp as often as they like.
For questions regarding enrollment or for more information, please contact Emily, Director of Sunrise Day Camp–Chicago, at firstname.lastname@example.org or Leslee, Manager of Operations, at email@example.com
Michael Reese Health Trust Scholarship Award
Sunrise Day Camp-ChicagoCongratulations to our Sunrise Day Camp-Chicago staff who showed commitment and dedication in their work towards a health-related field and created a truly memorable camp experience for children with a cancer diagnosis and their siblings this past summer.
See the Sunrise Magic for Yourself...
Give Childhood Back to Children with Cancer.
“The best thing about camp this summer was the abundance of joy
and anticipation that all of my children experienced every camp day!"
– Sunrise Day Camp parent
Questions and Answers
Registration is open year-round and continues throughout the summer. So, that means it is never too late to register your child for a summer of fun! We also offer year-round programs, so if it’s after the camp season, contact us to enroll for these.
Sunrise Sundays – Our kids love camp so much that we just had to extend the fun beyond the summer. During the school year, our camp hosts Sunrise Sundays — special activity days for our campers — along with many of the same staff who helped to make their summers so wonderful. Our year-round program makes it possible for our campers to see their friends throughout the year while enjoying summer fun all year long. These camp-like activity days include sports, crafts, as well as special shows & programs. Some of these days are family events, where parents and children enjoy the fun-filled festivities together. Free transportation is available if needed. As with all our programs, these are offered to our families at no charge.
Sunshine from Sunrise – Whenever we become aware that one of our campers is hospitalized, parents can request a “Sunshine Visit”, from camp counselors or year-round camp staff, who will visit with a few special surprises and a cheery smile. They will sit at bedside and play, share stories of camp days, and even give mom or dad a drop of respite so she or he can go home for a few hours, change clothes and maybe have a hot meal. The continuity from camp to bedside helps our campers feel connected to their counselors, friends and fun, lessening the sense of isolation and fear that a hospital admission can bring.
Sunshine from Sunrise is just that – a burst of cheerfulness during the darkest times, bringing sighs of relief to parents and smiles to their children.
When a child has cancer, it affects the entire family. Siblings, too, may face tremendous challenges socially and recreationally as the family’s focus understandably turns to their brother’s or sister’s medical needs. But at Sunrise, siblings can play and interact as other brothers and sisters do; they are free to be with friends in a very normal, fun way while escaping the constant worry often found in a home with a chronically ill child.
At Sunrise, siblings learn to better understand and deal with their brother’s or sister’s illness and their own feelings. Siblings are welcome to attend whether or not the child with cancer is able to be a camper.
Sunrise Day Camp has a private, air-conditioned Wellness Center and is supported by on-site pediatric oncology nurses and a medical director on call. Most medications can be easily administered, and ample indoor areas are provided for children to just “cool down.” In the unlikely event of an emergency during the camp day, transportation by ambulance is provided.
Sunrise Day Camp is within driving distance of its local communities. We encourage parents to drive their children to and from camp in order to limit their time on buses and keep them in the most comfortable environment. If driving is not an option, free bus transportation is available from select locations. In unique circumstances, transportation arrangements can be worked out to accommodate the special needs of a family.
Ever see a child not want to leave a hospital because they’re having so much fun? At Sunrise On Wheels, it happens every day! Sunrise on Wheels provides a day filled with Sunrise fun to children awaiting treatment in pediatric oncology units of participating hospitals. Volunteers wheel a rainbow trunk bursting with toys, games and activities right into the hospitals and change what could have been a difficult day into a day of camp fun! Our signature Wheels program currently brings fun to thousands of children in over 30 hospitals around the world. Contact Jen Zislis for more information.
Children bring their own favorite lunches from home, so they never have to wonder what’s on the menu today (of course, we’ll refrigerate it). We provide snacks and water throughout the day whenever needed.
Allergy Aware: We strive to be a nut free environment. Because a large number of our campers have nut allergies, we request that any food sent to camp be nut free.
Please let us know if you have any dietary restrictions and we can help to accommodate your needs. Note that all food served by the camp is kosher-style.