The Andréa Rizzo Foundation // February 2018

Foundation News  
Upcoming Dréa's Dream Gala Holds Special Meaning
In 2009, Pazazz Performers owners/directors learned that one of their 3-year-old students, Arianna Dougan (nicknamed Ari), had been diagnosed with neuroblastoma. Arianna loved to dance, but with her immune system weakened by chemotherapy treatments she was forced to stay home and miss her beloved dance classes. But that didn't stop her dance teachers, Kacy Voskuil and Emily Edwards of Pazazz Performers of St. Louis, from bringing dance lessons to her at her home.
At the same time they had heard of the work of the Andréa Rizzo Foundation and hoped that they could bring Dréa's Dream pediatric dance/movement therapy to the hospital where Arianna was being treated so that she could enjoy dance and movement right there in her hospital room.  
That was the beginning of Pazazz's brainstorming with the Andréa Rizzo Foundation and planning fundraisers like dance-a-thons, dance parties and finally, a huge Dréa's Dream Gala. After raising their first $5000 they worked with foundation president, Susan Rizzo Vincent, to bring Dréa's Dream to Cardinal Glennon Hospital where Ari was being treated.
From that point on there was no stopping Pazazz Performers! Their efforts to continue to raise funds in many creative ways flourished and the progr am has expanded from 1 hour per month of pediatric dance therapy to 12 hours per month. All the while, Ari remained their biggest inspiration.
Susan Rizzo Vincent has been deeply touched by this special effort.  After meeting Ari several times over the years and especially two years ago when she watched Ari, (only 10 years old at the time) step up onto the stage of the Edison Theater at Washington University during the annual Dréa's Dream Gala and speak about how Dréa's Dream was helping her get through her cancer battle and also helping the patients that surrounded her while being treated at Cardinal Glennon in St. Louis, it was clear to Susan and everyone in the audience what propelled Pazazz Performers to go "all out" to bring Ari the gift of dance/movement therapy.
On November 11th of this year, Ari succumbed to neuroblastoma after an eight year battle that she fought with the tenacity of a warrior and with the grace of someone beyond her years, inspiring young and old along the way.

In lieu of flowers, her family generously asked that donations be made to the  Andréa Rizzo Foundation   so that many more children can experience the benefits of dance/movement therapy as much as Ari did. The outpouring of donations has been overwhelming and is approaching $10,000 to date. Ari would be happy as she lives on through all of the joy this brings to the patients at Cardinal Glennon.
On  March 10th , the Pazazz Performers of St. Louis will once again host their spectacular Dréa's Dream Gala and all in attendance will have their hearts and minds on Arianna Dougan. Click here to watch their video (that features a poignant speech on stage last year by Arianna) to see how Ari and Dréa's Dream grew through the years because of Pazzaz dancers' compassion for others and a strong love of dance. Pazazz Performers have let their hearts move their feet and made big things happen for so many. 
Jane Seymour supporting the foundation again and again
WPRO Radio Host,  Patricia Ruskin, interviewed actress Jane Seymour recently and they discussed her new book The Road Ahead. Foundation President, Susan Rizzo Vincent was invited to speak as well since the story of Dréa's Dream is included in this beautiful book of overcoming life's challenges. A must read!

Dréa's Dream Team

I' m constantly asked how the Andréa Rizzo Foundation has grown far and wide through the efforts of a completely volunteer staff. My answer is always the same, "Dréa has sent us a "Dream Team" of angels!"
E ach month we will spotlight a different volunteer to show our appreciation.  There are so many compassionate and dedicated volunteers and "angels" so I will randomly choose one to introduce to you each month. 
We hope you'll enjoy reading about each of these individuals as much as we love presenting them to you. 
Susan Rizzo-Vincent

Dréa's Dream Team -  February  Spotlight on Nina Frances

It's the little things that make a difference for a pediatric cancer patient. These beautiful beanies were made by a very special woman, Nina Frances of Gloucester, MA, to be donated to our young patients at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. She also made a batch for our patients at Connecticut Children's Medical Center.

When Nina heard about the foundation's work, she immediately wanted to help in some way. She said, "I want to do something for the Andréa Rizzo Foundation but all I can do is knit. How about beanies to keep their little heads warm?"
As you can see from this photo, Nina Pickett, Administrator of Pediatrics at MSKCC, was thrilled and in awe of the beautiful work that Nina Frances put into these special gifts and is delighted to think of all the smiles that will appear when each child is presented with a beanie.

Nina Frances, you could not have given a more special gift and we know that each knitted stitch is filled with love. Thank you from the foundation and all of the children who participate in Dréa's Dream pediatric dance therapy program.

Amazon Smile

You can raise funds for the Andréa Rizzo Foundation while online shopping at Simply sign into your Amazon account at and click "Your Account" in the top right side of the toolbar, then click "Change Your Charity" in the scroll-down column. When prompted to select a charity, type The Andréa Rizzo Foundation and do all of your shopping for a good cause! (you only need to type in your choice of charity the first time you set this up). Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organization of your choice.
Dance Therapist Corner

Katie Bohn, LPC, BC-DMT continues to provide dance/movement therapy to the Dréa's Dream program at Cardinal Glennon.  See below a few words she has shared about her work there.

Dréa's Dream continues to bring the power of dance to fragile children at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital in St. Louis, MO. Thanks to the continued support and funding by the Pazazz Performers, our program continues to grow! I have been extremely blessed to participate as a dance/movement therapist with the Dréa's Dream program over the past two years. Weekly I work, one on one, with children staying in the hospital - providing them with the joy of dance and giving them an opportunity for movement, connection and emotional expression.
I recently worked with a 7-year old girl who was paralyzed from the waist down. When I met her, she was lying very still in bed, watching TV, reportedly feeling "bored" and experiencing pain from a recent major surgery.  During our session together we created an elaborate dance performance in her bed, including costumes, a "curtain" (e.g. scarfs) and dance performances by her two American Girl dolls.  The patient chose the songs based on themes for the dance.  We had water dances, fire dances and then empowerment dances to songs like Katy Perry's "Roar" and Rachel Platten's "Fight Song".  The girl used the dancing color scarves in the choreography and eventually began dancing herself engaging in balletic arm and head movements in synchronicity with the music.  She was smiling, laughing and expressing her own courage and inner strength through song choice and improvised movements for her dolls and her own body.  I knew that the movement and laughter had not only lifted her spirits but also engaged her physically in her "new body", a body that is forever changed in its mobility. Mom also understood the importance of what was unfolding. Her eyes welled with tears numerous times throughout the session as she participated as the photographer and videographer for the performance.  I continue to be humbled by the opportunity to work with and meet these amazingly brave children as a dance/movement therapist. Thank you to The Andréa Rizzo Foundation for making this possible! 

Katie Bohn, LPC, BC-DMT
Dance/Movement Therapist
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The Andrea Rizzo Foundation
10 East Beach Road
Charlestown, RI 02813
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Dance Across America®  e vent!

Join dancers across the country today and start planning your dance-a-thon, performance or any dance event of your choice - big or small - to raise money for Dréa's Dream programming nationwide. Email: . We'll help you plan.
Dance Across America® participants receive a plaque for their dance school as well as individual tokens of appreciation for each dancer.  Your school will be featured on our website, social media sites, and our monthly newsletter.

Already have an event scheduled?  Don't forget to tag us in your pictures and videos on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube using #dreasdream or #danceacrossamerica.  We look forward to seeing your events on-line!

Dance Across America® - Dancers Dancing for Dréa's Dream
We're right in the middle of the Dance Across America 2017 - 2018 season and could not be more inspired.  Many of these dance schools create special events year after year, and counting.   

March Events
March 4 - Mansfield, MA - On the Barre will hold their benefit performance at 1pm, Mansfield High School, in conjunction with Revolution Performing Arts, Dance Express, Live, Love Dance Studio, In Sync Center for the Arts and Kalia Karr Dance Studio.  They will be dancing to raise money for the foundation.  What a group!
March 8 - St. Louis, MO - Pazazz Performers 8th Annual Dréa's Dream Gala.  This dance school just keeps going and going.  It's truly an inspiration.  See above story about this incredible company.
March 24 - Marshfield, MA - Stephanie Holleran, Owner/Director of Duval Dance and Music Academy will hold their annual benefit at 6:30pm at the Elks Club. 

Sponsor Spotlight
Talent on Parade  has become a loyal sponsor, helping us get Dance Across America up and running for the past two years. They are an official sponsor of the Dance Across America campaign in support of Dréa's Dream nationwide. 



We thank the Rhee Gold Company for continuing to support our efforts and spreading the word of Dréa's Dream in their Dance Studio Life magazine and through DSL Dance Wire news on-line.    

The Moret Group has provided prizes for our Dance Across America pledge-raising competition each year. We are so grateful to John Debease at The Moret Group for arranging the donation of fabulous activewear for our top pledge raisers.