Dréa's Dream Blog - Dance,
Healing and Hope by Susan Rizzo Vincent
Dréa's Dream pediatric dance therapy program has promoted healing for children with cancer and special needs and is funded by The Andréa Rizzo Foundation. It has also inspired dancers to combine their love of dance with compassion.
We look forward to shared stories of dance, healing and hope.
During this season of giving, I think about all of the young dancers whose hearts have been touched by Dréa’s Dream. They have found ways to combine their love of dance with compassion and give to children with cancer and special needs. I’d like to highlight their stories each month. They inspire me and I know that they will inspire you, too.
One young dancer’s personal story of dance, healing and hope symbolizes a true gift from the heart. Ashley Audet was only eleven years old when her younger brother Brandon was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Ashley spent hours visiting with her
brother in Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center's pediatric ward in New York City. While trying to keep his spirits up, she sat in awe and watched many children enduring endless chemotherapy treatments. It filled her with sadness. Thankfully, Brandon’s cancer was caught early and he was successfully treated and cured. Ashley knew that wasn’t going to be the case for many of the other children she met at MSKCC.
In 2005, Ashley read in Woman’s Day magazine about Dréa’s Dream pediatric dance therapy program, funded by The Andréa Rizzo Foundation. Since dance had always made her feel happy, she knew that Dréa’s Dream would help those children that she continued to worry about. Her brother’s life threatening experience inspired her to find a way to help others and promote their healing while giving them hope.
Ashley approached her dance teacher and together, with the help of her family and her fellow dancers, she began what would become a tradition of annual dance-a-thons and benefit performances that have raised over $30,000 to provide pediatric dance therapy. Not only does their belief in the power of dance help children at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center but it also helps children with special needs in two schools in the Perth Amboy, NJ public school system. Children who struggle to get through each day have found new ways to manage pain, gain mobility and express themselves because of Ashley’s and Brandon’s own life altering experience.
At this time of year, I am especially grateful to all of the dancers who have let their hearts move their feet for the many children who wish that they could be dancing too. Thank you for making a difference and keeping their hopes alive!
Hope – to wish for something with expectation of fulfillment.
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