Bella Rodriguez-Torres's Journal
Bella’s Birthday & Christmas
Written Dec 29, 2013 11:01pm by Shannah Rodriguez-TorresDear Bella’s Believers:
We are sorry we have not updated this page in a while. For more frequent updates, please visit and like Bella’s page on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/LiveLikeBella
We have been very busy with Live Like Bella™ Nights of Lights at Pine Crest Gardens which runs from Thanksgiving until 1/6 6-9PM. It is a beautiful display of lights at Pinecrest Gardens and the entrance is only $5. If you are in Miami, we encourage you to visit sometime this week with your family and loved ones. Click here for more information.
On Bella’s birthday 12/12 we celebrated her birthday by announcing “Bella’s Promise.” A first of it’s kind partnership focusing exclusively on Pediatric Cancer Between Live Like Bella™ Foundation and Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation. We are very excited about this joint venture and are looking forward to working with entities around the world to accelerate innovation and research in childhood cancer. Below is a link to a news story by CBS4 on the press conference.
Volunteers also distributed “Bella’s Blankets” to children in the cancer center. Later that day we celebrated at her grave with friends, family, balloons, and cupcakes. We sang Bella Happy Birthday and we also were very prayerful and joyous because it was also the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, or “Mommy Church” as Bella referred to her.
On the 16th of December, the Live Like Bella™ Foundation distributed hundreds of toys at Miami Children’s Hospital and brought Santa and set up a beautiful affair in the playroom for all the children to enjoy. We are so grateful to our wonderful volunteers who made this happen! THANK YOU to all who donated toys!
For Christmas, we traveled to Los Angeles to visit with Shannah’s sisters Nicole and Claudine and spent some special time with special friends. Christmas was very bittersweet as we shared the joy of the birth of Jesus, but missed Bella immensely. Bella loved Christmas here on Earth, we can only imagine her wonder and enjoyment in the grand celebration of His birth in heaven.
Just before Christmas, we received a beautiful surprise. As you remember I put out a message while Bella was still here with us for any Bella Believer who wished to express how Bella touched their life to send letters. Our dear friend, and Raymond’s co-worker Erika sent us a beautiful hardbound book with hundreds upon hundreds of letters all sent in by you. THANK YOU so very much. There are letters from all over the world and the words have touched us deeply. God bless you for sharing how Bella touched your lives.
As is to be expected, some days and moments are more difficult than others. There are so many things especially during this time of year that remind us of Bella. There is often felt an indescribable void without her here physically with us. Our faith however strengthens us and let’s us know without doubt that Bella is with us wherever we go and in all that we do. As we visited Children in the hospital to distribute toys we saw many parents in the same situation we once were. We know all too well the battle they are facing, there are many bleak and painful days. It was remarkable to see so many inspired by Bella’s life and the many that ask for her intercession now that she is in the kingdom of the Almighty in heaven.
We want to take this opportunity to thank all of you, Bella’ believers for your love, support and above all your prayers. Often times in the midst of tragedy people ask: “Where is God?” We believe that God lives in each and everyone of us and all of you have shown His love and compassion for our family and for Bella, time and time again.
May God bless each of you with abundant health, peace, and joy. May you all enjoy the peace and celebration of this Christmas season and enjoy a very fruitful and joyous New Year.
Live Like Bella!
With our love and appreciation,
The R-T Clan
PS: CBS 4 included Bella’s story as one of the top stories for 2013. Bella is mentioned in the beginning and at the end of the segment. As you will notice while the news in S. Florida for 2013 involved many tragedies, as you will hear in the closing remarks of the segment: “And then there was Bella…. Even on our worst days, it’s best to Live Like Bella.”
Thanksgiving- Six months since Bella went home
Written Nov 28, 2013 8:12am by Shannah Rodriguez-TorresToday marks six months since Bella was called to heaven. We miss her terribly. We now know the meaning of heartache in the physical sense and struggle with a range of emotions through the day. At times the grief simply robs us of the ability to breathe at moments.
It is easy for us to know what we want. We want Bella here with us, eating her "Turkey Dinner" attending Mass, singing her songs and being her joyful self. BUT of all days, today is not a day to think about what we want, rather as Bella taught us, today as we should everyday- we give HIM thanks. And so as difficult as this day may be, today we will give God thanks and praise. We give thanks for the gift that was Bella. We give thanks that because of our faith, we know without equivocation that BELLA IS ALIVE in heaven. We give thanks for all the amazing people that have come into our lives and lifted us up. We give thanks for the generous donors and team at Live Like Bella Foundation who are continuing Bella's mission of helping children with cancer. And we give thanks for all of you who have loved the child entrusted by God to us, even if you never met her in person. thank you for loving our family and for your unceasing prayers. We give thanks for you!From our family to you and yours- Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving! May you all enjoy a day of abundant health, peace and joy! We also want to wish our Jewish friends and family a very blessed and joyous Hanukkah!
Written Nov 2, 2013 7:55am by Shannah Rodriguez-TorresDear Bella’s Believers:
We pray this post finds you and yours well! Thank you for your continued prayers for our family.
We apologize it has taken so long to update this page. Things have been as expected with “Highs and Lows.” Thankfully far more “Highs than Lows.” There are moments of deep and indescribable grief because we miss Bella so much. At the same time, we know she is alive enjoying paradise in heaven and we feel her presence so very often in all we are doing with the Live Like Bella Foundation. We are in NEED of your help. We are excited about Live Like Bella Nights of Lights which will run from Nov-January at Pine Crest gardens. This will be a very beautiful display of lights in honor of Bella. Sponsorships are tax deductible and we need your help. Please visit: www.LLBNights.com and choose a sponsorship on behalf of your family or company. Approximately 30K people are expected over the six week period.
We are also working very diligently to fund a new clinical trial with Rhabdomyosarcoma. We are steadily approaching our goal and cannont wait to fund this study so that it can begin in January. You can learn more by visiting www.LiveLikeBella.org
Additionally, we are working with one of the worlds premier children’s health systems for a joint venture towards a global pediatric cancer initiative that is very exciting. We look forward to announcing more about this soon.
Thankfully Rayna is doing very well in school and continues to make friends as do Ray and I. Nanny is recovering nicely from her knee replacement and PRAISE God Lisa, is off of the ventilator, and in a rehabilitation hospital, she will soon be going home and can now walk and speak. Thank you so very much for your prayers!!
As we knew to expect, we find Holidays very difficult. We remember Bella in so many things. Bella loved to dress up for Halloween and this year it was difficult beyond words to only concern ourselves with one costume, one candy basket etc. We know that this is a process and we continue to find strength in our Faith, our Family, and Friends. We are so grateful to all who continue to lift us up. Indeed the weight of this cross is heavy, but we find solace in knowing so many care, so many love us, and so many pray. On Halloween we visited Bella’s grave and left a few items and prayed after we had gone trick or treating with Rayna. Yesterday on All Souls day, we heard many beautiful reports of how Bella was remembered during Masses celebrated and homilies given by clergy and others. We continue to be amazed at how many loved and remember Bella.
This Tuesday was 5 months since Bella went to heaven. Below was a post by Raymond on this day."Five months ago today, I held you tightly as you exhaled your final breath into my chest. At that moment, I prayed, and into His hands I commended your soul. While I miss you beyond what human words can express, I know you are more alive than ever; enjoying paradise in heaven. In your name, in your memory, I promise we will help find a cure. I am proud to be your daddy. I love you Bella. Pray for us. #LiveLikeBella #VictoryInChrist”
Thank you all for your prayers and support. Know that we appreciate all of you and love you dearly.
Victory in Christ!
Shannah and the R-T Clan