Turley Jewelers hosted an elegant evening event November 21 to support “Live Like Bella”, a not-for-profit that supports families enduring pediatric cancer.
“When we opened the new store and had more space, we wanted to give back,” said Charlotte De Paula, who owns Turley Jewelers with her husband, Eddie. “We’re people of faith, so we want to give back to God as well. If we can make a difference, that’s what we really want.” Turley Jewelers’ new location opened this past spring at 11219 South Dixie Highway.
Bella Rodriguez-Torres was an extraordinary human being who died in May 2013 at age 10 of cancer. The foundation that carries her name and her legacy is raising funds for pediatric cancer research, recreational support for families of children being treated for cancer, and support for memorials for families who have lost a child.
“Typically one parent has had to quit working to become a caregiver and people have run through their money for the medical care,” said Bella’s father, Raymond Rodriguez-Torres, chairman of “Live Like Bella.” “For myself I don’t care what kind of monument I have, but unfortunately I will be visiting Bella’s grave for the next 60 years, and we want to help families with that aspect of things as well.
“I miss Bella with every fiber of my being. I had the immense privilege of learning from my child, and the
essence of her lesson is that it is not the weight of the load that breaks us, rather how we choose to carry it.” In early 2012, the phrase “Live Like Bella” went viral following a post by her mother, Shannah, on Facebook. She challenged the world to go out and live the experiences her daughter, then confined to a bed at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, could not enjoy at the time.
Despite a diagnosis of an aggressive stage 4 childhood cancer in 2007, when she was four, Bella went on, with intensive therapy, to live a life filled with joy, prayer and inspiration of others. Despite her parents’ being told she would never walk again in 2007, she regained full mobility and the ability to run, jump and dance.
Bella was extraordinarily devout for so young a child, frequently praying for other children in the cancer hospitals where she spent so much of her life. “Bella had a special connection to the Virgin Mary,” her father said, “and as she died the music we were playing for her had cycled around to ‘Ave Maria’.”
Bella’s viewing, funeral and interment were attended by thousands and covered by local, national and global news organizations. More than 200 police officers and first responders attended her funeral Mass (Bella was an Honorary Chief of the City of Miami Police).
Turley Jewelers has created a special bracelet made of recycled-paper beads from beadforlife.org, a not-for-profit that helps women in Uganda become independent by running small businesses. Owner Eddie De Paula made a prototype for cast-metal “B”’s in Bella’s handwriting that were added as charms to the bracelets. The bracelets can be purchased for $12 at Turley Jewelers, with 100% of the proceeds going to “Live Like Bella”. Just in time for holiday shopping, and through December 24, Turley Jewelers will donate a portion of all sales of fine jewelry to “Live Like Bella.”
For more information, call Turley Jewelers at 305-252-1123.