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.
As 2012 arrived, I realized that this would mark the 10th year since Andréa was struck and killed by a drunk driver on May 19, 2002. It doesn't seem like ten years because I hold every moment of her life ever present in my heart. With so many beautiful examples of her dream and compassion surrounding me, that is easy to do. I've spent a lot of time lately, going back through the many letters and cards that people have sent me along this journey. (Yes, I have saved every one.) They have given me hope and sustained me in my darkest moments.
One letter in particular brought me right back to the very beginnings of Dréa's Dream pediatric dance therapy program at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center – the very hospital where Andréa had been treated and cured of neuroblastoma when she was only eighteen months old.
Dance/Movement Therapist, Dr. Suzi Tortora developed and implemented Dréa's Dream at this world renowned cancer center. I found this heartfelt and most beautiful letter from Suzi, written just months after Dréa's Dream began. I am sharing it with you because it embodies the work we do each day to help children to heal – emotionally, psychologically and physically. I know that it will touch you as deeply as it has touched me.
Dear Susan and Foundation Members,
Each day at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center I am filled with awe at the children, the families, the staff. The love and care and kindness in and of itself creates such an atmosphere of healing. I feel embraced. Everyone has welcomed my presence and the gift of dance therapy from The Andréa Rizzo Foundation.
My memories already are full – of the little Australian girl who took me on a journey to the sun, the sky and the flowers through our dance, despite the language barrier. And- the 2 ½ year old who stood up on his bed and jumped and twirled and swayed with me, stepping and leaping over the tubes he was attached to sustaining our dancing journey for 20 minutes.
Then there was the nine year old who adjusted her dancing style to each change of music, portraying a Spanish dancer, a tango partner and a peppy teenager, culminating her dance in a soft, warm embrace to herself – seeming to say in her silent gestures, that everything will be okay. She had just lost her leg to cancer the week before.
Lastly, there was the teen, studying to be a professional dancer, who stood up and performed a dancer’s warm up with me and quietly allowed her tears to softly roll down her cheeks as her body remembered those moves that she hasn’t felt in 18 months.
As my work begins here at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, it is I that must thank all of you.
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