My Facebook page is filled with kids fighting childhood cancer. Maybe I’m just a glutton for punishment, but when I find out about children who are fighting this beast, I can’t help but want to follow their story, and pray for their cure.
One of the children I’ve been following is 10-year-old Bella Rodriguez-Torres. What makes Bella different for me is that she’s from Miami. In fact, she lives less than 5 minutes from me. Though I’ve never met her, I’ve seen her–in the American Girl store. Her smile is even more contagious in real life than it is in the many photos of her.
Here’s the description of what this girl has been through (taken from her Caring Bridge page):
“I was born on December 12, 2002, & was 4 1/2 when I became paralyzed from a tumor on my spine & diagnosed with Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma, Stage 4 on 7/17/07. I went thru 54 weeks of chemo and 16 weeks of radiation to all 7 tumor sites and was in remission. I am able to walk, run and jump again! In April 2009 they found a tumor in my brain and I had full brain radiation, more chemo and an antibody treatment and was again in remission. On 9/28/11 there was a tumor found in my right ovary which was removed and the area was radiated. On 1/12/12 they found 3 new tumors in In my abdomen And I had more chemo and an antibody treatment. One month after this treatment in August 2012, 4 more tumors were found in my pelvis so I had chemo again. Jan 2013 the tumors were found to have grown while on chemo so I went to Houston to have a 16 hour surgery to remove the tumors, my uterus, my ovaries and have my entire abdomen washed in hot chemo. I am still recovering from the side effects and issues of the surgery. Please pray for me as I undergo my treatment and receive God’s full healing.”
Bella’s family and the 32,230+ Facebook family of Bella’s Believers prayed fervently and had great hope when Bella had her 16-hour surgery and hot chemo wash in Houston a couple of months ago. It seems logical that taking out all the cancer and putting hot chemo through her abdomen would kill the fucking bastard disease once and for all, right?
Nope. Childhood cancer is ruthless. As hard as Bella and her family and her doctors have fought, the disease has fought back even harder. According to her mother’s latest update, Bella has tumors all throughout her abdomen, surrounding several organs. She’s on dialysis. She has fluid build-up in her lungs. She’s in critical care. Despite the aggressive surgery and treatment less than three months ago, the monster is back with a heartless, cruel vengeance.
And yet, through it all, Bella can be seen on her Facebook page smiling, helping the nurses connect her to countless tubes, and eating big red popsicles. This incredible child smiles through the worst-imaginable treatment. She has touched the hearts of so many people, including mine.
Bella needs your prayers. She has fought for over five years and if anyone deserves a miracle, it’s this happy, smiling little girl. So please, take a moment and pray for Bella…