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APSU, Clarksville community dance to help local girl

Members of APSU and the Clarksville community are using Zumba and other ways of fundraising to help a girl in need.

Bella woke up with a severely swollen shoulder and was rushed to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt by her mother Isabel in June. After several tests to discover the problem, the doctor had news: Bella has osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer.

The American Cancer Society website states approximately 800 cases of osteosarcoma are diagnosed in the U.S. every year, with only half of that amount accounting for children and teens.

“I knew with most major treatments, even if she has medical insurance, it’s going to be expensive,” said Rene Ramsey, a Zumba instructor at the Foy Fitness and Recreation Center and former APSU English adjunct professor. Ramsey organized Bella’s Ball, a “Zumbathon,” or Zumba marathon, held on Saturday, Aug. 8, at the Foy to help raise funds for Bella’s treatment.

Six Zumba instructors and 67 volunteers attended Bella’s Ball to raise money for her operations, which include surgery on her arm and six months of aggressive chemotherapy.

“The Zumba community in this town is powerful, I guess you could say,” Ramsey said.

According to Ramsey, Zumba is a supportive rather than competitive fitness program. Zumba can be described as “Latin cardio” that involves a lot of dancing. Ramsey went to Zumbathons for schools and charities and felt it could also be used to raise funds for Bella.

“Seeing so many friends and [people] I don’t even know come together, be joyful and want to dance for her and my family, that just brightens my day,” Isabel said. “I need more of this … more happy moments.”

To make donations for Bella, mention “Bella in Tennessee” at any U.S. Bank, or visit the Go Fund Me website by searching “Bella’s Cancer Fight Club.”

“One of the reasons why I love this town so much is because people here care, and they want to come together and help,” Isabel said. “So many people have reached out to us, and this is just a small example of how wonderful they are.”

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