Jose Fernandez may soon be named the National League Pitcher of the Month for April, but first he will be honored for his work off the field.
In November, after being named NL Rookie of the Year, Fernandez was awarded $20,000. He immediately elected to donate the money in full to “Live Like Bella,” which is a terrific foundation to assist children with cancer.
Fernandez did not seek recognition for this generosity and many could be unaware of it as with much of his community service. The ace of the Marlins’ staff is extremely active in giving back and being humble. He’s as much of a MVP off the field as he is on it and honors like he will receive on Thursday are well deserved.
“Live Like Bella” was formed in June 2013, a month after Bella Rodriguez-Torres passed away at only ten years old
from cancer after a courageous battle that began in 2007. The foundation assists children with cancer and keeps Bella’s story alive. It was started by her family who in June 2013 also took part in an event that raised $100,000 for research into childhood cancer.
"I want to help children with cancer. I have spoken to Bella's parents and we are all very happy," Fernandez said at the time of the donation.
Fernandez’s $20,000 donation was put to quick use. The funds were used to create a research project focused on a pre-clinical trial in regards to Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma. That specific cancer is what Bella had and ultimately ended her life at such a young age. With Fernandez’s donation and the great research taking place, the hope is that other families can avoid the tragedy experienced by the Rodriguez-Torres family.
The honor for Fernandez will come at a luncheon on Thursday in Coral Gables. The foundation mentions that the honor is also for his talent on the field but it’s clear that for one day at least, his work off the field matters even more.
More information on the foundation can be found at LiveLikeBella.org.