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18-year-old Cancer Survivor Shares Her Poignant Story at the 2014 Daniel Brooks Memorial Educational Awards Ceremony

Likening her battle with cancer to a personal war, Alexis Alpert, 18, of Ronkonkoma, showed strength and courage as she shared her story and gave thanks to the Stony Brook University Cancer Center team who helped her in her fight. She also thanked the team, as well as the family of Daniel Brooks, for the award that will help fund her first year at Stony Brook University this fall. Alexis reserved her most heartfelt appreciation for her mother Bonnie, by her side through it all, and her younger sister Kelsey and her stepdad Dean who attended the 12th annual ceremony on July 22. 

In addition to Alexis, 21 of her fellow pediatric cancer survivors accepted the award from Robert Parker, MD, Director, Department of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Stony Brook Children’s Hospital, at the ceremony. In total, a record number 39 students will benefit from the scholarship funds.

"I don’t think any of us knew 12 years ago that the scholarship award would grow this significantly,” said Dr. Parker. “We love to see our current and former patients pursuing their dreams. It’s especially rewarding that eight of the recipients are attending Stony Brook University, on the same campus community where they were treated.” 

The Daniel Brooks Memorial Educational awards are given each year to students who have been treated for cancer at Stony Brook University Cancer Center to help fund their education at a college or trade school. Established in 2003, the awards are supported through the Sunrise Fund, which was created in 1999 to raise awareness and funds for Pediatric Hematology/Oncology programs at Stony Brook Children’s. Since its inception, the awards have totaled $195,000 in support for students. 

"It’s amazing to see the toddlers and young adults we treated now going on to higher education," said Debra Giugliano, RN, MS, Nurse Practitioner in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology. “Dan Brooks would have been proud of having his name on this scholarship award. We’re thrilled that his family joins us every year for this ceremony, ensuring that his spirit lives on, by paying it forward for other pediatric patients with cancer.” 

About the Sunrise Fund
The Sunrise Fund was founded in 1999 by Susan Shiebler and Maureen Brennan, whose children were treated for cancer at Stony Brook University Hospital. The fund was established to increase awareness about childhood cancer and to raise funds for specific projects including a respite center, a playroom, extended support services, facilities and programs that meet our families’ growing needs, and vital research into the causes and treatment of childhood cancers.  The Sunrise Fund helps sustain the Outpatient Pediatric Hematology and Oncology program of Stony Brook Children’s Hospital, the only pediatric oncology program on Long Island tied directly to a major research university. To learn more, visit

About Stony Brook University Cancer Center
Stony Brook University Cancer Center is Suffolk County’s cancer care leader and aleader in education and research. With more than 20,000 inpatient and outpatient visitsannually, the Cancer Center includes 12 multidisciplinary teams: Breast Cancer;Colorectal Cancer; Gynecologic Oncology; Head and Neck, and Thyroid Oncology; LungCancer; Melanoma; Neurologic Oncology; Orthopaedic Oncology and Sarcoma;Pediatric Hematology/Oncology; Stem Cell Transplantation and Hematologic Malignancy;Upper Gastrointestinal Oncology; and Urologic Oncology. The cancer program isaccredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer as a teachingHospital Cancer Program and received the Commission’s outstanding AchievementAward. The Carol M. Baldwin Breast Care Center was the first center in New York Stateto be accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers.Stony Brook’s Department of Radiation Oncology is accredited by the American Collegeof Radiology and the American Society for Radiation Oncology. 

About Stony Brook Children’s Hospital
Established in June 2010, Stony Brook Children's is Suffolk County’s only children’s hospital. More than 7,000 children and adolescents are admitted each year. Stony Brook Children’s operates 100 pediatric beds and has more than 140 full-time pediatric physicians and surgeons in 30 different specialties and over 200 voluntary pediatric faculty members. The hospital is the Level 4 Regional Perinatal Center for our area and has a Level 3 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. It is home to the nation’s first Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Center and also offers a Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Program, Pediatric Cardiology Program, Pediatric HIV and AIDS Center, Cystic Fibrosis Center and the Cody Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities. 

Facebook Album from the July 22, 2014 Ceremony