The power of compassion and social media

Bella Rodriguez-Torres is an adorable 10-year-old girl in Miami. She is a “rhabdo warrior.” I wear her “Pray for Bella” bracelet all the time, along with my bracelets for Isabella Santos and Ronan Thompson. Bella has been fighting rhabdomyosarcoma for over five years and her parents have just learned that despite recent chemo treatment, she has relapsed yet again. They’re fighters and they’re not giving up. But this family really needed a boost and thanks to an 18-year-old superstar and lots of Bella’s Beliebers, that boost is coming…big time!

A few days ago, Bella’s mom started a campaign to have Justin Bieber meet Bella when he makes his tour stop in Miami. Let me first say that we’re a huge Justin house. My five-year-old daughter, Gabi, like Bella, wants to marry Justin. My eight-year-old loves him, too. We’re going to his concert on January 26 and I make no secret of the fact that I’m actually looking forward to it. Especially now.

Bella’s mom asked for help in getting Justin and his manager, Scooter Braun, to see her message and a beautiful video compelling Justin to meet Bella. Like thousands of others who have followed Bella’s story, I tweeted Justin and Scooter multiple times, asking them to please watch the video and make a little girl’s day…no, her life, by having Justin meet Bella when he’s here in Miami. I was skeptical…Justin Bieber has over 32 million followers. Even if 1,000 people tweeted him, the likelihood he’d see any of the messages, I thought, was futile.

Clearly, I was wrong.

This morning, Bella’s mom excitedly posted on Facebook that we had done what I thought was impossible–she received an email verifying that Justin would indeed meet Bella in Miami! Holy cow! Not only did this happen, but thanks to the immediacy and power of social media, it happened within a week!

And once again, the realization is clear: people have power.

Last night, I did my part in the Truth 365 campaign (www.thetruth365.org) and posted their amazing film on my Facebook page and Twitter feed at 7pm on January 7–to represent the 7 children who are diagnosed with cancer every day. This whole campaign is designed to harness the immense power of social media to create awareness of and funding for childhood cancer.

At 7:00pm last night, my Facebook page was filled with people who, upon my request, also had posted the link to the film. Again, I was witnessing the power of social media combined with the innate compassion of people who are aware. And those who watched the film for the first time were awed by it. Their eyes were finally opened to the reality of childhood cancer and what it really means for these children and their families.

The mission is working. Social media really does have power for enormous good.

I, for one, am a believer. Or, as Bella, Gabi, and the other 32+ million Justin fans would say, a Belieber.

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