My daughter Sofia who´s now 8 years old was diagnosed when she was 6 and since then she’s been through several surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation. It is hard to believe there is still space for joy during such a hard time. But even on the hardest days, knowing her Riprap Friend was coming to see her was enough for her to get up and be ready to enjoy. During this time she’d dance, play instruments and even perform for us totally forgetting she was sick or feeling tired. Thanks to this possibility she even found out dancing is her passion. For us being able to see her having fun and feeling so happy made us strong to keep fighting. So Riprap not only made a difference in Sofia but also in her sister and us all.
Riprap Friends are continuing to bring joy and love to the days of children fighting cancer, serving families from the pediatric oncology clinics at NYU, Mt. Sinai and MSK. We are also embarking on a new partnership with New York Presbyterian/Columbia. It is meaningful and powerful work that makes an uplifting impact on all those touched. Patients, siblings, parents and Friends all share overwhelming gratitude for the connection and experience. Riprap Friends needs your support to make our work possible. All donations go directly to services and materials for the children we serve. As we begin working with another hospital and reaching more families, we need your help more than ever. Please consider donating here!
You can also support our work by using Amazon Smile and selecting Riprap Friends as your charitable organization. Click here for simple instructions on how to get started!
Friend in the Spotlight
Hometown: Austin, Texas
Your “Friend” specialty: Dance/Gymnastics
Your favorite Riprap Friend moment so far: It means that what I do really matters and I get to bring magic and fun to a child’s week!
What being a Riprap Friend means to you: There are a lot , but the one popping out to me right now is the first time Sofia did a headstand by herself. She is usually fairly reserved, but she could not contain her joy in this moment. Her eyes sparked and she had the biggest smile on her face!
How did you get into teaching?: My very first job was as a gymnastics coach and camp counselor at Bela Karolyi’s Gym in Texas. I was 15 years old, I couldn’t even drive or cash my own paychecks yet ! Bela and his wife Martha were the lead coachs for the national team for many years. That was where I was really trained to spot gymnasts through new skills safely. What I really loved about this camp was giving gymnasts the opportunity to try new big skills. With proper spotting a beginner gymnast could do a back tuck, or a double back tuck. Maybe they would never get to that level at their home gyms but after camp they would know what that feels like and gain inspiration and confidence from it. Now I teach dance as well as gymnastics.
Fun fact about yourself: Im a performer and dancer with some fun skills! I’m a facepainter, balloon sculptor, mermaid, fairy and even a performing hula dancer.
Founder, Riprap Friends
The name “Riprap Friends” comes from the word for a stone wall used to armor shorelines against water erosion. We will provide a metaphorical armor for pediatric cancer patients and their families against some of the often overlooked erosive characteristics of that disease: social, creative, and emotional isolation that can be a severe impediment to full recovery.
We understand that a child’s wellbeing depends on a variety of important factors, and among those factors is the child’s ability to be creative, intellectually stimulated, socially engaged, to have the opportunity to make meaningful choices in his or her day-to-day life, and most importantly, to have the support of family and friends during their medical treatment. Riprap intends to facilitate all of these things in the name of bettering the overall health of childhood cancer patients.