• thesunrisefund

We are happy to share that we have received one of our first “Thank you” letters from a sunrise fund recipient.  Kayla Brancaleone, of Gloucester, sent us a thank you for helping fund her treatment and would like to share her story.  This month she will be 5 months clean and sober.  Recovery is possible! 

Kayla's Story:

I was born and raised in Gloucester and have lived there my entire life. I was raised in a great home with parents who loved me and showed up for me the way that parents should. They gave my brother and I all the tools that we needed to succeed in life. I went to Catholic school for elementary school. My mom was always driving us from one sporting event to the other. I got As and Bs all throughout school. I always struggled with anxiety, people pleasing and feeling like I didn't fit in. I was always searching for something to fill the void I had inside. I experimented with drugs and alcohol in high school but it wasn't anything that got out of control and that most kids my age weren't doing as well. I still played varsity sports, maintained good grade and got into college.

When I was 19 and in college, I had a surgery and was given prescription opiates for the pain. I liked the way that they made me feel and they filled that hole inside that was begging to be filled. I became addicted to the pills and when the prescriptions ran out, I started buying them illegally. Eventually someone suggested to try heroin because it was cheaper and had a more potent effect. Like most people, I always said this was something I would never do but a lot of people I knew was doing it. One day I couldn't find any pills and I tried it. All of a sudden I was 19 years old and a heroin addict. Nobody grows up wanting to be a heroin addict but here I was. I was a full time employee, a full time college student and a full time heroin addict. I hung out with people who got in trouble and bad really poor choices.

For a long time I didn't face any consequences to my actions. I did terrible things for drugs and hurt a lot of people, especially my family. I tried a lot of different ways to get clean for a lot of years. I went to detoxes but never stayed clean for long afterwards. I tried therapy and outpatient programs. I tried methadone and Suboxone and different psychiatric medications and those worked for awhile but inevitably I would always find myself with a needle in my arm. Somehow I was able to graduate with honors from college with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice. I felt like a hypocrite because I was doing drugs which made me a criminal. I could make my life look good on the outside by holding down a job but on the inside I was becoming more and more hopeless. I was filled with guilt and shame and I was completely incapable of telling the truth.

Eventually my life fell apart and I finally started facing consequences for my actions. I got arrested and placed on probation, I got fired from my job of 2 and 1/2 years, my family was disgusted with me. I couldn't stay clean. I needed help and I was too ashamed to ask for it. I ended up violating probation by failing a drug test for fentanyl and cocaine. The judge ordered me to the women's detox program at the Essex County Correctional facility in Middleton where I had to withdraw from 125 milligrams of methadone, cold turkey, as well as 1600 milligrams of Neurontin. Those were the most painful 44 days of my life. I had never tried long term treatment after a detox and everyone was suggesting, actually demanding, that I go to long term treatment. I was terrified by the idea but I had done things my way for a long time and proven to myself over and over again that my way doesn't work.

Soon after, I heard about the Sunrise Fund. I remember as a younger softball player, idolizing Jill when she was on the varsity softball team. I was so sad when I heard she passed away. I knew Christian as he graduated high school the same year as my older brother. I knew he had gotten his life back and had many years of sobriety. I called my Dad from the detox in Middleton and told him that I needed to find a place to go after I was released. He suggested that we reach out to Christian. I was desperate and willing to do whatever it took to get my life back. Christian made a phone call to a woman he knew named Sheila who owns a sober house in Dorchester called the H.O.W. House, which stands for honesty, open-mindedness and willingness. They had a bed available and after some back and forth with the courts, the Judge agreed to let me go there and I have been there ever since.

The Sunrise Fund paid for my first three months at the H.O.W. House. I now have a job again and can afford to pay rent on my own and am learning how to be independent. I have a sponsor who has brought me through the 12 steps. I am now the assistant house manager and next week I will have 5 months clean and sober. I am so grateful to the Sunrise Fund for giving me this opportunity and I will be forever indebted to them for what they have done for me. Thank you Christian, Jackie and everyone at the Sunrise Fund for saving my life! I could not have come this far without you. I know my family thanks you as well as they now have their daughter back. If anyone reads this and is struggling with addiction, please know that your not alone and please reach out for help!!!

* full permission was given by Kayla to use her name and picture with her story. Sunrise fund will not give out information unless written consent is given by recipient. 

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  • thesunrisefund

We would like to take this opportunity to share some fund updates with the community, as you have been incredibly supportive and gracious to our cause.

We are pleased to announce that starting May 26th and up until now, the Sunrise Fund has sent six recipients into treatment programs. We have paid out over $23,000 to treatment facilities and sober living homes in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine. We feel very strongly that these people would not be where they are now, without the critical financial assistance from the Sunrise Fund Recovery Scholarship.

In addition, we will be sharing our upcoming fundraising events and will keep you posted on the details as they come in. Before we know it, it will be time to tee off to our 2nd Annual Sunrise Golf Tournament in the spring!

Please keep sharing our page and our posts! Addiction affects so many of us, in so many ways. It’s our greatest hope that we can help as many people as we can. Reach out to us if you need help- thesunrisefund@gmail.com

Updated: Oct 30

Another annual Jill Latham Memorial Softball Tournament 2-2 for the books! Saturday, September 28th was a heartwarming, motivational, and emotional day. We had a big Co-ed softball tournament in honor of Jill and this year all proceeds were donated to the sunrise fund.

All together the event raised $4751.00! There are many people to thank that made this day happen:

Stacie and Matt Nicastro- Stacie helped collect numerous donations and bring the event together. They also brought the enormous grill that was borrowed from the JJ nicastro events (thank you Jon Nicastro as well) And Thank you Matt for being the grill master for most of the day!

Jess Delisi- Thank you for making the shirts, gathering sponsors and putting the event together.

Shawna Palmintieri- Thank you for helping shop for all the concession supplies and also pulling the whole tournament together as well.

Amanda Goveny- Thank you for getting teams together and making sure everything was completely legit, not too mention being another huge part of putting the event together.

Sadie Mello- Jill’s favorite niece was the head of the concession stand and helped out immensely in taking in all the proceeds for the day.

Jennifer Beliveau of Jennifer Lee Photography- Thank you for taking pics of the day!

Lou Mcgrath- Thank you for umpiring and getting a crew to help out as well!

Thank you to all the people that donated the 15+ raffle items and baskets.

Thank you to all the businesses that sponsored the T-shirts:

Cape Ann Oil, Cape Ann Travel Service, Captain Hook’s, Celia’s Flowers, F/V WEBB II , Gloucester Boxing, Hoots and Moots, KC White Contracting Inc., Maki’s Moving Co., Marissa and Mike Goodwin, Paramount Financial Solutions, Polaris Sheet Metal, Seasonal Control, The Bridge, and Wolf Hill

And last but not least the volunteers!

Thanks Cat, Emily, Marissa, Krystle, Jess, Jenna, Alicia and all the softball players!

Congratulations to team Sky for winning the whole tournament! Jill would be proud.

As hard as it is to come to this tournament every year, it is always worth it in the end. Jill’s happy place was with all of these girls and guys whenever she played softball, which was one of her main passions in life. It was a beautiful sunny day filled with all the people that she loved, and we thank everyone that was a part of it. :)