It's Elissa Mingino's childhood drawing of a sunrise, along with carefully traced letters, that serves as the logo for the Sunrise Fund at – a drawing she made during her fight against cancer as a child.
As kites soared in the background on Saturday at the Sunrise Fund's "Soar for a Cure" event, the now 19-year-old Mingino reflected on the experience of growing up while being treated for cancer.
"Children's bodies are still growing and their bodies deal with cancer differently than the ways a grownup deals with cancer. There have to be different treatments for children," said Mingino, who was diagnosed at age 4 and went into remission at age 9 years. "... We really wanted to make people aware of that, and raise awareness so that maybe one day there could be a cure for childhood cancer."
Hundreds of children and adults turned out to blow bubbles, dance, enjoy ice cream, and of course fly kites led by kite flying expert Annamaria Morgato. Mingino's brother, Matt Taylor, even provided entertainment in the style of Justin Bieber.
The Sunrise Fund was founded 1999 by Susan Shiebler and Maureen Brennan, two parents with children diagnosed with cancer being treated at Stony Brook. The fund supports a number of special support programs and outpatient treatment centers for the hospital's youngest patients – more than 2,000 inpatients and outpatients, according to Jeanne Greenfield, the "Soar for a Cure" organizer.
"Over the last 20 years the surrounding community members ... different organizations have all helped support Sunrise Fund," she said. "This is really a give-back to the community today."