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Tampa Bay Rays Sean Rodriguez signing autographs to benefit ill toddler

5:06 PM, Jun 28, 2013   |    comments
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Pinellas Park, Florida -- Every day, this family counts toys and blessings. The biggest one? That Bella Carr is a happy toddler, despite a cold that wouldn't go away and a trip to the hospital that revealed a tumor the size of a grapefruit.

"They found out she had Neuroblastoma cancer," said Grandma Susan Cooney.

Months of treatment followed -- chemo, a bone marrow transplant, hearing loss -- all at just three years old. Her grandmother has been there every step of the way. So was Bella's mom, Tasha, until she battled her own health issues.

"My husband came to the hospital to tell me that my daughter [Tasha] died. It's bittersweet because I see my Tasha. They look exactly alike," Cooney said.

"The whole story gave me chills," said Sherri Contento of Bella Babies. Contento's store and her daughter share a name with this little girl. Now, they're sharing so much more after hearing about Bella's story from a cable technician.

"I don't know if I could do something like this. You would really have to be a tough cookie to be handed everything she's been handed," added Contento.

The Pinellas Park store is putting on a fundraiser on Saturday, June 29 with catering, autographs from the Rays' Sean Rodriguez, and part of the proceeds from sales at Bella Babies going to Bella.

Bella's grandmother hopes the event also alerts others to the disease impacting her granddaughter.

"They can see the journey that I've gone through and hopefully we can make Neuroblastoma awareness because it's really a silent killer, I think."

Bella Babies is located at:
7183 66th Street N
Pinellas Park, FL 33781
(727) 547-2229

Tampa Bay Ray Sean Rodriguez will be signing autographs from 9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

The fundraiser runs until 1:00 p.m.

If you would like to make a cash donation, you can do so at Bank of America on behalf of Bella Carr.

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