MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It’s been almost two years since Bella Rodriguez-Torres, a girl whose battle with cancer brought a community together, passed away.
But since her passing, on May 28, 2013, Bella’s hope lives-on and continues to round up people from South Florida in the name of finding a cure for pediatric cancer by funding innovative research—including an upcoming approximate 300 mile bike ride to Disney World.
Bella, who passed away at 10-years-old after a six year battle with cancer, touched thousands with the motto, “Live like Bella.”
“It’s just humbling that two years later Bella is still such a big part of their life,” Bella’s father, Raymond Rodriguez-Torres, said.
On Wednesday, Miami Police and Bella’s dad gathered for a practice ride at Milam’s Market in Coconut Grove ahead of next week’s bike trip, which is set to take place June 24 through the 26.
Ahead of the ride, Bella’s father has lost approximately 25 pounds while training for the journey.
“I can’t let Bella down and I’m ready,” Rodriguez-Torres said Wednesday. “I’m trying to follow in your example, Bella. Your strength was exemplary, not only for the world, but for me.”
The group ride’s goal is to raise funds for research.
The plan, which is to head to Magic Kingdom to ride “It’s a Small World,” is significant because Bella’s family has not returned to the ride since four days prior to Bella’s passing. It was then when Lt. Javier Ortiz and family organized an overnight Disney trip so Bella could go on the ride one last time before passing from cancer.
“That’s all she wanted to do was go back on the ride–so it’s bittersweet. They’re riding for her, for all the kids who are fighting, for all the kids we’ve lost. I know she’ll be there with them,” Bella’s mother, Shannah Rodriguez-Torres said.
The group 3-day ride is to raise awareness and money to help find a cure.
“I held my baby girl on her first breath on Earth and on her very last and as difficult as that is, it’s an extraordinary blessing to be able to do this now. I feel and I think we all feel that she is more alive than she has been in her entire existence,” Bella’s mother said.
The hope is to raise $25,000 for the ride. For more information, or to get involved, click here.