Name: Mackenzie Mallonee
Dance Studio: Karen Sachs Academy of Dance, MD
Why Mackenzie is a voice for children fighting cancer:

I recently lost one of my best friends, Ariella (Ari) Stein, to cancer. She was diagnosed with bone cancer at age nine. I was scared for her. Ari and I danced together. She loved to dance so much, but had to stop when she started cancer treatments and I really missed her being there. Ari was the most positive person I think I will ever know. She always had a smile on her face even when she was in pain. Ari was such a kind and giving person. While she was in the hospital, she used her own money and gift cards to make bears at Build-A-Bear and give them to children in the hospital with her. She then created her own foundation, “Ari’s Bears”. I am proud to still be a part of this foundation where we create bears for children with cancer and now give scholarships and research grants for pediatric cancer. I hope to continue her legacy and help bring smiles during times when it is the hardest to smile. We all need to be a part of spreading awareness and fighting for a cure, so we don’t lose our best friends.