11/20/2008 at 12:00 AM EST
On Dancing with the Stars Carrie Ann Inaba
sits behind the judges' table critiquing other dances. But last week, the Dancing
judge got back to what she loves best--dancing--for a good cause.
On November 13, Inaba participated in a dance therapy class for chronically ill kids at Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA in Los Angeles. Sponsored by the dance therapy foundation Drea’s Dream, the 15 young patients ranging in age from 2 to 18 participated in an hour-long session with Inaba that was full of laughter and silliness.
“This program resonated with me because I know first-hand the healing power of dance,” Inaba told PEOPLE. Inaba says she was inspired to sign on with Drea’s Dream, a foundation started by Susan Rizzo Vincent, after hearing of the program’s background.
Vincent’s only daughter, Andrea ‘Drea’ Rizzo, was a pediatric cancer patient at New York’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center who found solace through dance. By the time she reached adulthood, Drea was declared cured of her cancer. Her dream was to become a dance therapist and teach dance to kids with cancer and disabilities. In 2002, at age 24, Drea was killed in a car accident by a drunk driver.
So touched by the program, Inaba, a former professional dancer who toured with Madonna and starred as a fly girl on TV’s In Living Color
, says, “This program is so fulfilling, through dance we can discover and unlock what these children can’t articulate. I’m considering going back to school to become a registered dance therapist.” --Monica Rizzo
For more information about Drea’s Dream, go to dreasdream.org