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Mother keeps daughter's 'Ari's Bears' legacy alive

Posted at 9:43 AM, Jan 24, 2020

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — More than 11,000 children, under the age of 15, will be diagnosed in 2020 with cancer and more than a thousand of them won't beat it, according to the American Cancer Society.

Only four percent of yearly cancer funding goes to these children, that's why one woman is working to change that after her daughter died from bone cancer in the spring of 2019.

Erica Stein is Ariella Stein's mother. Ariella lost her battle to Ewing's Sarcoma when she was just 11-years-old. During her treatment, when she was only 9, she started Ari's Bears, where she donated stuffed animals to sick kids in the hospital.

Something Stein said her daughter loved doing.

"Just see the smile on Ariella's face to make the other kids happy. Putting the bears out just so, letting the kids pick them out and suggesting which ones for them," said Stein. "Just being with the other children and just the fact she did this all while she was still on treatment, while she still had cancer, while she was sick and she still cared about making the other kids feel better."

Stein said Ari's Bears has received an overwhelming amount of support that they now have plenty of stuffed animals. Now, they've decided to expand their mission to raise money for childhood cancer research.

"I think these kids with cancer deserve more than the four percent of research funds they get and we won’t stop until we increase that and see a cure for childhood cancer," said Stein. "We do it for the kids and we do it because we need the research funds. We need to find a cure and we do it for Ariella because that’s what she wanted."

They are hosting a dance-a-thon fundraiser on Saturday, January 25 at the Chestnut Ridge Fire Station in Owings Mills from 6 p.m until 10 p.m.

"Ariella was a dancer. She loved dancing. She loved all styled. Tap was her favorite but she was a dancer anytime. She would spin and twirl," said Stein. "What better way to honor her love of dance? Plus, it's good for all ages."

It's $30 to register which includes a meal and a snack. The money raised goes to pediatric cancer research. For more information about the event or to donate, click here.