Bella Moore’s short blond curls are full of rainbow colors after a weekend visit to the hair salon with her dad, Ronnie Moore II, who also dyed his beard blue at her request. It was a special occasion after the completion of a week of radiation for seven-year-old Bella at Christiana Care Hospital in Newark.
Bella is a first grader at Woodbridge Early Childhood Education Center (WECEC) in Greenwood. For the past year she has been battling brain cancer. In September, her family found out that the cancer had returned 11 months after going into remission from her first battle, according to Woodbridge school board member Jeffrey Allen.
On Monday, Jan. 6, Bella had an MRI at Nemours Alfred I. duPont Hospital in Wilmington where they discovered her tumors were growing in size and number.
“The location and growth explained why Bella had been experiencing pain and immobility,” Allen said. “Radiation was determined to be the best treatment for temporary relief.”
Bella Moore is a seven-year-old first grader at Woodbridge Early Childhood Education Center who is battling cancer. She is pictured here with her teachers, Natallie Visger and Sarah Ramey.
That same day, the regional manager of Dollar General called for a day in support of Bella; her mother Nikole Moore works at the Ellendale store. Employees from DG stores all over the eastern half of the country shared photos with posters in support of Bella and her family on social media.
In response to the difficult news this past fall of her cancer’s return, the #BELLABRAVE Fund was established by Jeff Allen, teachers, and community members in support of the Moore family and managing Bella’s care. In addition to Bella, the Moore’s also have a three-year-old daughter, Payge.
Over the past few months, there has been a tremendous outpouring of community support through multiple events and fundraisers.
One of the biggest events was Bella’s Ball on Nov. 9, at WECEC. The special evening was for Bella, Payge and all local elementary school families. WECEC teachers Erin Ricker and Alexis Wilson started talking about the idea and many teachers quickly joined in the preparations.
“The awesome part was so many others came up to us in the next few days saying the same idea had been laid on their hearts too!” Ricker said. “In a moment the Ball was created, and we were on a roll.”
The event brought out 260 students and parents getting dressed up and enjoying royal treatment at the beautifully decorated WECEC auditorium.
“It was truly a magical experience fit for a princess – from the preparation for the ball, Tamburelli’s providing an enchanted dinner [for the Moore family], Bella’s carriage ride through town, and an evening full of dancing and fun with a special appearance by the Disney princesses from the Pursuit for Peace organization,” said Sarah Ramey, Bella’s first grade teacher. “This event turned out better than anyone could have expected, and we believe everyone who attended felt the magic that was created.”
With a generous donation from the community and teachers, the entire event only cost $48 and raised about $3,000 for the #BELLABRAVE Fund, Allen said.
It was just one of many examples of support for Bella and the Moore family. Other events and fundraisers over the past few months include:
- Bracelets – Bella’s aunt, Taylor Walls, initiated the sale of yellow #BELLABRAVE bracelets for $2-$3 each depending on size. Nearly 1,500 have been purchased.
- Heart Art – Shelby Farris, a freshman at Woodbridge High School, coordinated the design of four different cards and distributed them for supporters to color and write a message to Bella and her family. More than 4,000 cards have been collected.
- T-shirts – Sportz Tees in Laurel fast-tracked making #BELLABRAVE t-shirts and teachers assisted with the sales and distribution of more than 750 shirts. WECEC Principal Kim Mitchell coordinated a district wide day for students to wear the #BELLABRAVE shirts on Nov. 15.
- Facebook Fundraiser – In late October, a Facebook fundraiser had received over $2,000 in donations, when a man donated $3,245 to ensure the campaign reached its goal of $5,000.
- Pumpkin – Street’s Produce delivered a 400 lb pumpkin for Bella and Payge to enjoy for fall.
- B+ Project Foundation and Football Game – Jed Bell, dean of students and head football coach at WHS, coordinated a special evening at the football game on Oct. 31, to honor Bella as well as Troy Haynes, the talented WHS starting quarterback whose battle with cancer ended last fall. A portion of gate admissions that night went to the B+ Project Foundation, supporting children fighting cancer, and Bella was honorary captain of the football team, leading them out on the field.
- Philadelphia Eagles – In November, the B+ Project Foundation made arrangements for the Moore family to attend a Philadelphia Eagles football game, where Bella had a chance to meet the cheerleaders.
- Chick-fil-A night – On a special night in November, Chick-fil-A donated a portion of their profits to the #BELLABRAVE Fund while many community supporters dined with Bella and family.
- Friday Night Laughs – This fundraising event at the Life Center was hosted by Tim Banks and attended by more than 100.
- Quarter Auction – Dawn Kulley coordinated a fundraiser quarter auction in December with more than 160 items donated.
- Wrestler Care Package – Bella is a huge fan of Pro Wrestler Bailey. She received a care package from him in December, thanks to some of Jeff Murphy’s contacts.
- Bridgeville Christmas Parade – Jack Cannon appointed Bella grand marshal of the parade and she paraded through town on a Bridgeville fire truck with her mom and sister.
- Teacher for a Week – Bella’s dream job is to be a teacher, according to Ramey. They made it possible for her to be a teacher for the week by letting her help other teachers throughout the building as well as in her own classroom.
- Great Wolf Lodge – On the weekend of Jan. 10, the Moore family was able to use funds raised to spend time as a family at Great Wolf Lodge. While they were away, volunteers went to the Moore home to build an accessible ramp with deck and sidewalk to help prepare for coming changes.
Additional supporters include Jim Weller donating two interview segments on his shows to promote #BELLABRAVE events, Audra Williams donating her commissions from her small business for a month, Kay Passwaters making a special dress and too many more to mention.
“Bella has never let her medical condition define her. Bella’s determination and perseverance through adversity is something to be admired! She is truly an inspiration to us and reminds us every day why we decided to become teachers,” said her teachers Sarah Ramey and Natallie Visger.