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Sunshine Kids Foundation: NYPD offers children with cancer an up-close look at the largest police force in the country

LOWER MANHATTAN, Manhattan (WABC) – The Sunshine Kids Foundation gives children with cancer the opportunity to leave their illness behind and just be kids, if only for a moment.

The day was hosted by the NYPD, which gave a group of children from across the country an up-close look at every aspect of the nation’s largest police force.

NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban rolled out the red carpet in his office.

Alfredo of Hillsdale, New Jersey, is battling leukemia, while Juel Martinez of Clifton has lung cancer.

Martinez was surprised by what he saw in the commissioner’s office.

All of this was made possible by the Sunshine Kids Foundation, an organization that was founded in Houston in 1982 with a handful of cancer patients. For them, the only treatment they needed was medical care.

“They were desperate to get out of the hospital and into the sunshine, so they started calling themselves Sunshine Kids,” says Jennifer Wisler, executive director of the Sunshine Kids Foundation.

For NYPD Detective Chad Moritt, this is a personal matter. He first introduced Sunshine Kids to the NYPD in 2015.

“A lot of kids come from small towns all over the United States, so when they come to New York City for the first time, it’s overwhelming, but they really enjoy it,” he said.

The children also use the time to exchange information, such as which needles hurt the least, tips for getting through chemotherapy, or pranks they play on their nurses and doctors.

“I have this little ball launcher that I like to pull out and shoot at them,” said cancer patient Abigail Martin.

Martin says the nurses and doctors giggle and play along most of the time.

It is a powerful experience that makes children, who have so much on their plate, realize that they are not alone.

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