We the living

8/9/09, Nike outlet in Jackson, NJ -- The day after I turned 30
If you’ve been coming here for a while, you already know that the only holiday I truly love is Halloween. But New Year’s, I’ve always at the very least liked. I realize it’s technically just another day, but it represents to me a time to reflect and measure growth.

A clean start. A fresh slate. Another chance to turn it all around. (Word to Vanilla Sky)

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Update: Stormy weather no match for Camp Sundown

Just a final note about Camp Sundown’s trip to Yankee Stadium – Before you get on me about the SportsAngle Curse, though it rained on Thursday night, it actually worked out perfectly, as it delayed the game so the campers could catch more of the game, a 6-3 victory over the A’s. Even the weather was smiling on this event.

I talked to a friend of the site who accompanied the campers to the game, and he said they had a terrific suite and then ended up right behind home plate in those cushy seats right behind the plate. They then went on the field and were able to hang out with Jorge Posada and Jose Molina (right). A great time was had by all.

I also paid my compliments to a Yankees PR guy, who called HOPE Week “Nourishment for the soul.” Well put, and congratulations again to the Yanks for doing something truly great for some very special people.

Newsday has a nice writeup of the hopefully-soon-to-be-annual event, along with a photo gallery.

Yankees offer special visitors a night to remember

We take so many things for granted every single day and don’t even know it, like the simple act of walking outside and feeling the warmth of the sun on your face.

What if you couldn’t do that?

Wayne Coffey’s excellent article in the NY Daily News on Sunday called our attention to a rare subset of very special people who don’t have that very basic luxury. About 250 people in the United States and 1,000 worldwide have an affliction called Xeroderma Pigmentosum (XP), in which their skin and eyes simply can’t handle ultraviolet light, be it from the sun, or even from fluorescent lights and television sets.

People who are affected by XP are about 2,000 times more likely to get cancer, and they often have to have up to hundreds of painful surgeries at very early ages. Their hearing and eyesight are often affected. Perhaps most striking, because of their condition, they can’t go outside during the day unless every inch of their body is covered, forced to live a mostly nocturnal existence to avoid the dangerous rays of the sun. In addition, their life expectancy, though it has improved through research, is not as long as the rest of the world’s.

Thankfully, there’s a place up near Poughkeepskie, N.Y., named Camp Sundown – created yanks480by the parents of a young lady with XP – where people affected by the disease can come together free of charge for a healthy dose of nighttime fun. They hold carnivals, take trips and play games, all under the cover of moonlight and the supervision of caring and loving counselors. In addition, the Camp is part of a foundation that contributes money to researching XP.

And none other than the New York Yankees are making sure that these very special individuals have a very special evening.

On Thursday night, as part of the Yankees’ Hope Week – which included a visit on Tuesday from Andy Pettitte, Alex Rodriguez and Joba Chamberlain with little leaguer Tom Ellenson (see picture), who has cerebral palsy – the campers will travel to the Bronx to catch some of the Yankees’ game against the A’s from their very own suite.

And after the game is over, Camp Sundown has the run of Yankee Stadium.

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