This afternoon, as the rains poured down in Miami, the Facebook post I’ve been dreading for weeks came across my iPhone screen. Bella Rodriguez Torres, the beautiful girl with the big, contagious smile, lost her battle today with alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma.
She was just 10 years old.
In her short 10 years, Bella touched thousands of people all over the country…actually, all over the world. She fought her disease really hard, but in the end, the monster was just too powerful to defeat.
All over Facebook, other childhood cancer warriors are posting their sorrow over Bella’s passing. Because Bella was an inspiration, not just to people like me, but to other children and their parents who are fighting this awful beast. Bella’s positive outlook and her undying belief in G-d have given others hope and have helped them to find some shred of happiness in the otherwise miserable world that is childhood cancer.
The outpouring of support for Bella’s parents and sister, and the sorrow over Bella’s passing makes it clear that the childhood cancer community is, in essence, a family. And it’s clear that Bella was a strong piece of connective tissue tying that family together.
Tragically, that childhood cancer family lost a beautiful soul today. Its members are heartbroken, but will forever forever remember Bella’s laugh and her smile and her joy and her fighting spirit.
You will be missed, sweet Bella. Rest in peace. You’ve certainly earned it.