WESTMINSTER, Md. — "She loved to dance. That was her passion, but she also liked to help others," said Erica Stein about her 11-year-old daughter, Ariella Stein. Ariella died on May 9 after battling a form of bone cancer, Ewing's Sarcoma.
To honor her, her dance group from Karen Sachs Academy of Dance decided to start their Friday night recital with a dance for her. They even showed part of Ariella's latest tap routine. Even though she went through so much, family and friends said she never let that bring her down.
"If she was having a bad day, she was more interested in cheering somebody else up than to talk about what she was going through," said Katie Reynard, Studio Instructor at KASD. She taught Ariella for five years. She said there were times Ariella couldn't dance when she had treatment, but she would still come in to the studio.
"I just want people to know Ariella for the fact that she was such a positive person," said Victoria Shats, one of Ariella's best friends. Another friend, Talya Goldstein, added, "Ariella was such a brave, kind and amazing person. Even in the deepest times and when she was in so much pain she still always had a smile on her face."
Talya decided to do something more to honor Ariella so she had her mom, Jeanie Goldstein, host a fundraiser for childhood cancer through Alex's Lemonade Stand. Last year, Ariella hosted one for the dancers.
"Our goal is to continue to raise awareness to continue her mission, and it’s important we do that together because this is something she started when she was part of us," said Jeanie.
They're hosting the fundraiser during their recital, from Friday at 5 p.m. until Saturday at 9 p.m. at Winter's Mill High School (560 Gorusch Road, Westminster). For more information or if you can't make it and would like to donate, click here.
Another event is scheduled to happen on June 29 at the Oakmont Green Golf Course (2290 Golfview Lane, Hampstead). It's a four person golf scramble that includes, not only golfing, but also a steak dinner and an awards ceremony. All of the proceeds will benefit Ariella's parents, so, if you're interested in signing up or just have a question, reach out to Joe Pupshis at email@example.com or (410) 493-1312.
Ariella was known for starting Ari's Bears, where she collected stuffed animals and donated them to children in the hospital. "It was her brain child. That's what she wanted to do every week," said Erica Stein. Now her parents are continuing her wish. They hope to make Ari's Bears a non-profit organization.
"How could you not? This is a kid who cared more about helping others than what she was going through," said Erica, Ariella's mother. "This is her legacy. This is what she left behind. This is how she’ll ultimately be remembered."