MIAMI - A week after her death, 10-year-old Bella Rodriguez-Torres is still inspiring others to "Live Like Bella."
On Wednesday morning, several members of the Miami Police Department began a charity bike ride from downtown Miami to Key West. Riders took off from the Miami Police Headquarters at 6 a.m. They are scheduled to arrive in Key West on Friday.
"I feel proud and I feel very humbled that our bravest citizens would find courage and inspiration in Bella's fight, so much so that they're willing to risk life and limb to make it all the way down to Key West to benefit generations of children," said Bella's father, Raymond Rodriquez-Torres. "The founding principle of 'Live Like Bella' is to serve others."
The crew trained for this ride for several months. The money they raised will benefit the St. Baldrick's Foundation, which works toward curing childhood cancer.
The Miami Police Department has taken a keen interest in Bella's case. The 10-year-old girl used to dream of becoming a police officer and was even deputized by Miami's department heads.
"At the end, it's a hard ride but it's nothing compared to the struggle that she went through, so I just think about the struggle she went through her whole life and it makes this a little bit easier," said Miami Police Officer Edward Lugo.
In honor of Bella, supporters shaved their heads the night before the bike ride. Bella's father was among the participants. Before shaving his head, he dyed his hair red, Bella's favorite color. He then styled it as a mohawk, something Bella always wanted herself.
"At only 3 feet 9 inches, she packed quite a punch," Rodriguez-Torres said. I am extremely proud to be her father, beyond what I can express is words."
For information on how to donate in Bella's memory, click here.
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