Thank You     501 (c) (3) #83-2740134       

the sunrise fund in memory of Jillian Latham

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As beautiful as Winter can be here on Cape Ann, it can also be the toughest time of year for many people, especially those dealing with mental health issues, homelessness, and addiction. It is during these months that the detox and treatment beds are usually full, and if it isn’t for treatment of their addiction, it is simply for a warm bed. The summer months tend to not be as full because people are more apt to seek shelter outside when the weather is nice. We understand the struggle of finding a bed during these months and, especially, the feeing of hopelessness that accompanies it.


What's New with 2020?

We held our first fundraiser at Giggles in Saugus to kick off the New Year right! The performing comedians, Johnni Pizzi, Kathy Gilmour, Lenny Clarke, and Dave Russo, brought their A game and had people in tears. If you asked us who was funniest we couldn’t tell you, even though Dave’s impression of Robert De Niro is going to be something we will never forget because it was dead on!


The night was filled with great raffle prizes, including a 50 inch flat screen TV, delicious pizza and drinks. AND not to mention, we raised $6750.00 for the sunrise fund in the process! Thank you so much to everyone who donated and bought tickets! We may even repeat the event next year!


What are the latest happenings with the sunrise fund?

In the last two weeks we have funded two more women into treatment. To date we have funded 5 women and 7 men into drug treatment or sober living placements. These twelve people have put recovery above all else in their lives. We were even so lucky to have two of the women and recipients families join us at our Giggles fundraiser! It really is a great feeling to have helped transition an addict from a point of such desperation to a point where they are doing so well in their program they are able to join and laugh at the fundraising event that got them there. And it’s an even better feeling to see their families laughing and smiling again.



We also have two new members on our board of directors that we would like to introduce to the community! Jessica Lindley and Elaine McKechnie have joined our team, bringing years of non-profit experience. They are both very eager to start helping the sunrise fund expand our network and help as many people get into recovery as we can. We are very excited to have them! Keep an eye our for their pics and bios on the website soon!

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We have booked our next event and looks like it going to be a funny one!  Friday January 24th at 6:30 pm join us for a comedy show at Giggles in Saugus, located inside Prince’s Pizza.  The tickets are $35 each and can be purchased here https://laughingforacause.rsvpify.com

Each ticket includes all you can eat cheese pizza.  Cash bar will be available and bring cash for raffles!  We invited one local comedian to join us that is coming up from Key West, Kathy Gilmour.  Kathy is originally from Beverly and used to work in Gloucester years ago with Jill at Capt. Bill’s Whale Watch.  Kathy is hilarious, and will be one of three comedians!  Door open at 6:30,  Pizza is served at 7 and the show goes on at 8!  We hope to see you all there!  If you would like to donate a raffle item please reach out to us by email for facebook thesunrisefund@gmail.com.  




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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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