News Release Header
For Immediate Release:
August 15, 2014
Media Contact:
Laura Phillips
laf@miamidade.gov
305-755-7842

Miami-Dade Parks and Miami-Dade Commission Vice Chair Lynda Bell to unveil the new ''Live Like Bella Park''


(MIAMI, August 15, 2014) —  Join the Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department and Miami-Dade County Commission Vice Chair Lynda Bell (District 8) at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, August 22, 2014, as they unveil the new “Live Like Bella Park,” formerly Leisure Lakes Park, located at 29305 Illinois Road in Miami. The park is being named in tribute to the late Bella Rodriguez-Torrez, a 10-year-old Miami-Dade County resident, known world-wide for her courageous cancer battle, which raised awareness for pediatric cancer and the need for life-saving research and support. The endeavor to re-name the park is the result of a resolution sponsored by Commissioner Bell, which was approved by the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners on June 17, 2014.  The park naming ceremony will include a press conference by the Live Like Bella Foundation and a tree planting.  Attendees are encouraged to wear something “red” to the occasion, Bella’s favorite color.

At age four, Bella was diagnosed with   Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma- an    aggressive    form    of    childhood    cancer.   Her six-year battle with the disease, along with her famed motto “Live Like Bella”, was chronicled on Facebook and Twitter by her parents, Raymond and Shannah. The motto grew into a phenomenon, becoming the rallying cry for tens of thousands of social media followers. 

Bella passed away on May 28, 2013, and is survived by her parents, her sister Reyna, and grandparents Dr. Ramon and Guly Rodriguez-Torres, Myles Hornreich and Amparo Mejia.  In June 2013, Bella’s family founded the Live Like Bella Foundation to continue the legacy of helping other kids fight cancer.  The Foundation advocates and funds the most innovative and non-toxic pediatric cancer research and provides support to families during their child’s treatments and in memoriam. Bella’s inspiring life is also documented in the best-selling book “Why Not Me?” – written by her dad.     

“Bella’s life and legacy is truly an inspiration to all.  The newly named ‘Live Like Bella Park’ recognizes her bravery and lasting contribution to our community,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. 

“It is an honor to name this park after Bella, who battled cancer so valiantly," said Commissioner Bell.  “This beautiful park will stand as a living tribute to a little girl who touched the hearts of so many during her short time on earth.” 

“I encourage families to make regular visits to Live Like Bella Park and take time to reflect on the joyful life of Bella, as they enjoy the many recreational amenities that this park has to offer,” said Miami-Dade County Parks Director Jack Kardys. 

The Live Like Bella motto set out to remind folks what life was all about, simply stated by Bella’s godfather, Ralph Rodriguez-Torres:

Facts about childhood cancer:

The 8.6-acre park contains a children’s playground, a baseball field, two basketball courts, a fitness court, a small recreation building and lighted pathways. For more information about Live Like Bella Park, call (305) 248-1527, or visit www.miamidade.gov/parks.

About the Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department: 

Nationally accredited, a three-time winner of the NRPA National Gold Medal Award, winner of the 2013 Florida Governor’s Sustained Excellence Award and the 2009 Florida Governor’s Sterling Award for excellence in management and operations, Miami-Dade County Parks is the third largest county park system in the United States, consisting of 260 parks and 12,825 acres of land.  It is one of the most unique park and recreation systems in the world.  Made up of more than just playgrounds and athletic fields, it also comprises out-of-school, sports-development, and summer-camp programs; programs for seniors and people with disabilities; educational nature centers and nature preserves; environmental restoration efforts; arts and culture programs and events; the renowned Zoo Miami and the Deering Estate at Cutler; the Crandon Tennis Center; golf courses; beaches; marinas; campgrounds; pools; and more.  For information about Miami-Dade County Parks call 3-1-1, or visit www.miamidade.gov/parks/

Miami-Dade County Parks is supported by The Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade a non-profit 501(c)3 organization supporting the Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department’s efforts to further develop Miami-Dade County’s world-class parks system for residents and visitors.  Its mission is to create a healthier, more livable and sustainable Miami community by ensuring the implementation of the Parks Open Space Master Plan and the development of year-round park and recreation programs for local children, adults and people with disabilities.  For more information on the Parks Foundation, please visit www.liveaparklife.org

To request material in accessible format, information on access for persons with disabilities, or sign language interpreter services (7 days in advance), call (305) 755-7848.