Turnout for Bella and a great cause

Published 9:33 am Thursday, August 18, 2011

It was hard not to smile when I first met Bella Coren on Wednesday.

Free spirited and carefree, she danced around her family’s living room, her light brown curls pulled atop of her head in a ponytail and a furry pink scarf draped around her neck. The girl has style!

Bella was as sweet as she could be. Her adorable redheaded little brother Carson too, boyishly flinging toys around in the background.

I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t write that I more than often have serious doubts about continuing this whole reporting gig. But despite all the nasty comments, profanity filled phone calls and snide remarks, it is stories like this that keep this job worthwhile in my mind.

I never would have known about Bella’s genetic disorder, much less even met a person living with Mowat-Wilson Syndrome, unless I was a reporter. Nor would I have the power to bring it to a mass audience.

Bella, the daughter of Alisha Smith and Adam Coren of Severn, was recently diagnosed with this rare genetic disorder. With only 200 known cases, Mowat-Wilson affects the second chromosome by mutation or deletion. Those living with this disorder face an array of health issues, including intellectual disabilities, seizures and congenital heart disease.

Bella has endured through seven operations already in her young life to correct many of those health defects related to Mowat-Wilson.

It’s important to shed light on disorders such as Mowat-Wilson, simply because they are rarely known about. Rare diseases and disorders often do not receive the funding like other well-known conditions and therefore forever stay a mystery.

In addition to funding research, we also must reach out to families like Bella and let them know we are here to offer support.

We never know what cards we will be dealt in life. Bella’s hand may be a little more difficult to play, but by the looks of her on Wednesday with her little pink scarf, surrounded by her loving family and community, things are working out just fine.

But there is a way you can help too.

On Friday, the Severn-Pendleton Ruritan Club is holding Bella’s Blessings Benefit Donation Lunch where pork loin plates will be sold for $7 each. The eat in or take out event will take place from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the Severn Community Building on NC 35. The proceeds from this fundraiser will go toward the many needs Bella has.

To purchase a plate or to learn more about Bella’s Blessings Rita McKeown can be contacted at (252) 585-0894 or the Severn Town Hall at (252) 585-0144.

If you don’t have a taste for pork there are other ways to help out Bella. Lori Burgess, also with the Severn-Pendleton Ruritan Club, has created some bright and colorful bows and wreaths to adorn a door or mailbox.

For purchase information about “Bella’s Bows” Burgess can be contacted at (252) 585-0970.

Monetary donations can also be sent through PayPal to: bellasblessings@live.com.

Let’s send Bella some blessings.

Amanda VanDerBroek is a Staff Writer for the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. For comments and column suggestions email: amanda.vanderbroek@r-cnews.com or call (252) 332-7209.