Live Like Bella…

Bella Rodriguez Torres is a 10-year-old girl in Miami, FL. She has been fighting Stage IV Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma since the age of four and a half. Recently, she was sent home on hospice care, as her treatment options have run out.

I’ve never met Bella personally, though I have seen her before…I remember her sitting among friends and family at the cafe in the American Girl store. She was all smiles, the center of attention. Bella’s smile is infectious. In fact, it’s the first thing I think of when I see her name: her big, beautiful smile.

Bella’s parents recently launched a live like Bella campaign (#LiveLikeBella) on Twitter and Facebook, urging people to live life to the fullest, as Bella has her entire life.

But amazingly, this campaign has emerged well beyond social media. Today, while driving to a shopping center near my house, I saw a car with the words “Live Like Bella” painted in red–Bella’s favorite color–on the back window. Someone posted a photo of an overpass on the Palmetto Expressway, in which the words, “Live Like Bella” were arranged with Red Solo Cups (http://instagram.com/p/ZdC287OiAK/). Houses all over my neighborhood are adorned with red ribbons, red bows, and red signs, showing support for this amazing little girl who continues to fight this awful disease that, due to lack of funding for research, has no cure.

In a city like Miami where people don’t really know their neighbors, people speak different languages, and the reputation of the public is considered rude, at best, to see people coming together to show support for Bella warms my heart. And every time I see a Live Like Bella sign or bumper sticker or a red ribbon tied to a tree, I’m further reminded that sometimes, all it takes to raise awareness is an adorable little girl with a big smile, a big heart, and a strong will to live life to the fullest.

Sadly, it’s highly unlikely that this awareness will bring a cure quickly enough to catch up with Bella’s disease. But with thousands of people praying for a miracle, her odds of receiving one have got to be better than most.

In the meantime, I’m off to tie a red ribbon to a tree in my yard, and when I receive the “Live Like Bella” car magnet I just ordered, I will put it proudly on my car. Not only will this help raise awareness about childhood cancer, but it will also pay tribute to one of the bravest, most beautiful souls living in Miami.

Please pray for Bella. And live like her, too.

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14 Responses to Live Like Bella…

  1. Jane says:

    Well written…you speak what so many of us feel!!

  2. Teresa Diaz says:

    I hope to always live my life life Bella. She is such an inspiration to all of us. God bless this beautiful child. As long as we keep believing and praying we will always have our Bella.

  3. Ali says:

    This was beautiful! Thank you for writing it. I hope you get to meet her and her family one day, they are amazing!

  4. Anjeli Daswani says:

    My sentiments exactly. Proud of our community who has come together to pray for a miracle and for support for Bella and her Family. Great post.

  5. Valeria R says:

    We have become one community- praying for a miracle for our loved Bella- most of us have never met her- except thru the generous pictures and posting lovingly updated on Facebook. I am amazed of how her family loves and supports eachother and eventhough it has to be heartbreaking for them, they are sharing Bella’s life wih everyone- to make us aware of this awful illness. LIVE LIKE BELLA!

  6. Bella has taught me to smile, and smile often! if she can smile through her pains and illness, I can certainly smile through any circumstance. She is a role model to adults like me! Her parents and family are true heroes. I thank them for sharing their experiences with us in the hopes of bringing awareness to our community on how to shed light on a dark situation. Miami is behind Bella, and this little girl has united many people in prayer and spirit! Bella is muy bella, and I am learning to live like Bella!

  7. Mabel Ramirez says:

    Bella has been an inspiration to many. Those that pray now because of her; parents that have taken a second look at their blessings at home and hug their child one more time with a heavy hear for Bella’s family; and many more who have been inspired to do something for our community to honor Bella and her family; Bella has a purpose and she will be with us for has long as needed to fulfill her life on earth

  8. Mayra Diaz from Philadelphia says:

    I am so glad to see a community who has come together regardless if you are related to Bella or not if she stole your hearts like she did mines. I live in Philadelphia and when I saw her page because I relative like it on facebook I was drawn to her and her story fill my spirit and so much that in Philadelphia I have a group of young kids from my bible class praying for Bella and we choose to Live like Bella , Vivir como Bella I love the way that sounds. I believe God has a purpose for Bella and although we may not understand certain things in life I know that god is in full control of Bella’s life.

  9. Rosy Berg Brandon, Fl. says:

    Truly Bella is an inspiration to many including myself, this past year our family was told that my 9 year old nephew had cancer. Today is his 10th Birthday and he is cancer free. But these children teach us humility, the real important things in life, all those little things we take for granted. More important they do teach us how to live. God Bless Bella and all the children who battle this horrible disease you will forever be in my heart and in my Prayers. LIVE LIKE BELLA

  10. I just found out about this story this morning, She is a inspiration to humanity including myself and everyone around the world. When I hear of her story on the DJ Laz morning show this morning my heart brokein half and I think I don’t have a tear left .My heart and my love goes out to her and her family for being so strong and living live to the fulliest without looking back. But I’m certain the she will continue to fill our hearts with a smile. May we all learn from this soul full of light and joy and learn to live life each and every moment with joy and even if they are moments that we disagree with it. May God Bless this incredible family and may you continue living life to it’s fulliest with that beautiful light that you shine us with. My prayers will always be with your and your family and it’s my honor to always live life like bella. LIVE LIKE BELLA !!!! Amen and Shalom

  11. ALEIDA MILIAN says:

    The news today about her passing has broken my heart, today is a very sad day … i cried and i gave a big hug to my two little girls…. i know now shes an angel in heaven and she is watching over all the little children in need. we love you PRINCESS BELLA #livelikebella for life!!

  12. Kiki Garcia says:

    Unfortunately Bella passed today, her frail body could not take the years of treatment and the countless surgeries to save her. She lives in our hearts and in our prayers. Belle brought a smile and hope to everyone that came in contact with her, even does that never met her felt close. May God bless her and keep her in his glory. Live like Bella

  13. Mary Fisher says:

    The news of Bella passing from this world to her eternal home has saddened me. What a special little girl! I only know her through the generous sharing of her family. My prayers and thoughts go out to her family, especially her parents and sister. So many will be praying for them. She has touched so many lives with her smile, courage and faith! She will not be forgotten! Enjoy your new home, Bella! May we all strive to “Live Like Bella”!

  14. alan manisco says:

    You can cut my hair off for this. I have cancer also, and don’t know how long I will be here. I am unable to travel. If you have someone near Key Largo, FL. that can cut my hair, please contact me.

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