A fundraiser was held in Indio Saturday for an 8-year-old girl born and raised in the Southland who has a remarkable story of survival.
Back on Easter, Bella Tucker caught a rare and life-threatening infection.
Doctors were forced to amputate her arms and legs to save her life.
Bella’s family described her as an energetic young girl with a wonderful smile and caring soul.
Before doctors removed her limbs, she spent countless hours in the gym “doing somersaults and things,” said Julieta Arias, Bella’s great aunt. “Shes such a tough little girl.”
“She gives inspiration to everybody,” said Anthony Ortega, Bella’s great uncle.
Bella has undergone 10 surgeries since Easter Sunday. Her last surgery was on Thursday
She was diagnosed with streptococcus pneumonia sepsis with disseminated intravascular coagulation.
“That caused her to clot off all her extremities and the only way to save her was to ultimately take them off,” said Natalie Ortega, Bella’s cousin.
Bella lives with her mother, stepfather and four siblings on the East Coast, and she is rehabilitating at a children’s hospital in New Hampshire.
“What they’re waiting for is her limbs to be able to tolerate pressure with no pain, so that they can start working with prosthetics,” said Natalie Ortega.
But, medical costs keep getting higher, said family members, which is why friends and family held fundraiser in Indio, selling dinner plates, and raffling off donated prizes to help ease the pain.
“No one should have to go through anything like that,” said Arias.
“This is a parents worst nightmare,” said Natalie Ortega. “To have to watch your child, get not one, but all four extremities taken off is heartbreaking.”
Bella’s family said the experience has been tragic, even though the tragedy is bringing the family closer together.
“She’s going to have this all her life,” said Anthony Ortega. “So, we’ve got to have it all our lives.”
Family members said they will continue holding fundraisers to help pay the bills.
“I’m very proud of her,” said Arias.
“There’s strength in innocence,” said Anthony Ortega. “It’s something we lose when we get older.”
All of the proceeds from Saturday’s event will benefit the Bella Tucker Fund.
If you’d like to make a donation, visit www.bellatucker.org.