Susan Rizzo Vincent has had a long and rewarding career as an elementary school teacher. She loves kids and feels blessed to have spent her entire adult life being inspired by them. Having grown up on Long Island, New York, she graduated from Adelphi University. After several months spent backpacking through Europe, she moved to New England in her early twenties and never left. She pinches herself daily as she can’t quite believe that she lives so near to the ocean in Charlestown, Rhode Island – just down the street from her all-time favorite beach. She received her certification as an Expressive Arts Educational Facilitator at Salve Regina University.
Susan began her first book, Dréa’s Dream: An Unfinished Dance, upon her only child’s request. Andréa and Susan decided to share their journey as a close-knit mother-daughter team. Together they conquered the challenges of Andréa’s bout with childhood cancer and learning disabilities. When Andréa became a Special Education teacher for second grade students in Narragansett, Rhode Island and had begun her graduate studies in dance therapy (a lifelong dancer), it seemed like the perfect time to start their project. With identical writing journals in hand they began to outline what they hoped would be an inspiration for many young people who had faced the same challenges. On May 19, 2002, Andréa was killed by a drunk driver at age 24.
Susan found herself surrounded by family and friends (Andréa’s friends as well) and the Andréa Rizzo Foundation was born – a non-profit, organization that funds Dréa’s Dream pediatric dance therapy program for children with cancer and special needs in schools, hospitals and medical settings nationwide. A drunk driver may have taken her daughter’s life – but Andréa’s dream lives on.
It is Susan’s greatest hope that her new book will provide a source of inspiration for many who have faced the agony of watching their own child suffer through cancer or learning disabilities – and also for those who look for ways to survive the loss of a child.
Dréa’s Dream continues to spread to renowned hospitals and schools through the support of dancers across America. This book is a testament to the power of dance!