Back in July during the Yankees’ wonderful HOPE Week, I wrote a column about the team’s post-midnight to dawn carnival on the field for Camp Sundown, a retreat in upstate New York serving people afflicted with a rare genetic skin disorder called Xeroderma Pigmentosum. XP prevents sufferers from going outdoors in daylight, and ultraviolet light, including common florescent lighting, causes them severe burns and eventually skin and eye cancer. The camp was founded by Caren and Dan Mahar when their daughter, Katie, was diagnosed with the condition.
Xeroderma Pigmentosum takes the lives of most people with the disorder before they reach the age of 20. It is so rare there are only between 150 and 250 sufferers in this country, maybe two or three thousand around the world. Having the chance to meet and write about Dan, Caren and some of the Camp Sundown kids was one of the most rewarding experiences of my professional career. Their courage and spirit continues to inspire me.
On Saturday, October 17, Camp Sundown will be holding its 11th annual Moonlight Stroll, a nighttime walk in Central Park to raise awareness of the condition and funding for XP research. The walk begins with registration at 8 p.m. outside Tavern on the Green, which is located at Central Park West between 66th and 67th Streets. Caren informs us “there will be refreshments, goodies and prizes and a good time for all.”
The camp will have a bus coming from Columbia County in New York, and stopping in Dutchess County for anyone coming who needs a ride. A registration form is available for those who wish to get sponsors for the walk.
“Can’t make it to NY?” says Caren. “Don’t worry! Do your own walk wherever you are! Fill out the form, get sponsors and walk on the same day.”
For further information or a sponsorship form, please email Camp Sundown at firstname.lastname@example.org. And bring everyone you can. The more the merrier!
On a personal note, I will be participating in the Midnight Walk, as will my wife Suzanne. We would love to say hello to any readers of Deep in the Red who wish to join us for a late night in the park. Hopefully, we’ll all be able to talk about some Yankee playoff wins.
Finally, I’ll be at Yankee Stadium tonight to observe and gather some interesting thoughts about the final regular season game of the new Stadium’s first year. It should be fun as the Yankees continue ramping up for the postseason.