MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Funeral arrangements have been made for a young South Florida girl who died after a courageous and inspiring six-year battle with cancer.
A viewing will be held for Bella Rodriguez-Torres on Thursday May 30th from 5 – 11p.m. at Caballero Rivero Woodlawn Funeral Home, located at 11655 SW 117th Avenue in Kendall.
There will be a Celebration of Bella’s Life Mass of Resurrection on Friday, May 31st at 1 p.m. at St. John Neumann Catholic Church, located at 12125 SW 107th Avenue. The burial will follow the mass.
In Bella’s short life, she managed to leave a major impact on people across the globe via social media with her heart-warming smiles and the ability to remind people what life is about.
Doctors said the chances of Bella living past age 4 would be a miracle but she did. News of her determination and bright spirit spread like fire through social media: posts, tweets, likes, and clicks. It didn’t take long for hundreds of thousands of people, including celebrities to hear about and feel the Bella phenomenon.
“D Wade came to me with the story. It was a no-brainer for me. You know, it’s sad. It puts everything into perspective. At the end of the day, this game is just basketball,” said LeBron James after Tuesday night’s game against the Pacers.
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade inscribed their sneakers with the words “Live Like Bella”, before the game started.
“Live Like Bella means to eat something and enjoy it, savor it, go play with gusto, even the simple things. Do them and enjoy them. Learn something new, get out of your comfort zone and enjoy life, “said Bella’s godfather, Ralph Rodriguez-Torres.
The “Live Like Bella” mantra swept the internet. Her website, PrayForBella.com has swelled to 655-thousand visits. Nearly 65 thousand people followed Bella on her Facebook page. Sadly, the latest post announces her funeral arrangements.
Well-wishers are now flooding her web site and Facebook page.
Click after click after click, there are mentions of the brave little girl who taught people to never give up and believe.
Speaking of believing, Bella was a true ‘Belieber’. Her social profiles pay homage to celebrity Justin Bieber, a performer who clearly had the formula to really make her smile.
And smile she did. She had an infectious smile that still teaches us all to stop, think, and put it all in perspective, no matter who you are.
“I understand that this game is so magnified. This is the talk of a lot of people throughout the day. But what happened to Bella puts everything into perspective,” said LeBron James.
“She was brought to this earth to remind us what life is supposed to be like. She was an angel on loan and now it’s time for her to return home,” explained her godfather.
Bella was diagnosed at age four with an aggressive form of cancer called rhabdomyosarcoma.
A book her father wrote called “Why Not Me” was published in two languages and on the best seller list. People were inspired by the book believing if this child could live life with happiness through all of her pain, so could they.
“She lived not five months but more than five years and made an impact that none of us in this room could make a lifetime,” said her godfather.
In honor of Bella, Miami Police Sgt. Javier Ortiz and the Miami Police Department will host a fundraising event and bike ride for Bella, Bella 2013, with a goal of raising $50,000.
Nearly 40 participants have volunteered to shave their heads on June 4th. The event will be held at the Miami Dade Police Department Auditorium. Bella’s father is scheduled as a guest speaker.
In addition to Tuesday’s event, on June 5th at 7 AM, eight local Miami Police Officers will ride mountain bikes for 160 miles to down to Key West. The officers plan on arriving in Key West on June 7th.
This is a signature St. Baldrick’s Foundation event that aims to raise funds for lifesaving childhood cancer research and also to honor the memory of Bella.
In lieu of flowers the family asks supporters to consider making a small donation to www.Bella2013.com.