At the time of our last entry, Bella had just been re-admitted to Children's Hospital with a bad case of pneumonia. She is still recovering from this bout, but thanks to her strong will combined with the love and support of her family and friends, she has finally been discharged from the ICU and is currently recuperating in the hospital's CCS (Coordinated Care Services).
She has a new team on the CCS floor with whom she is quickly making friends. At the same time, she still enjoys visits from all of her ICU nurses and her surgical team - Nancy, Janet, David and Carla - also known as "The Blue Team".
On Monday, June 22, she underwent her 9th surgery to remove bone splints that continued to grow after the amputation and to graft skin on her right leg to help close an open wound from the previous surgeries.
She continues to work hard with her Physical Therapy nurses every day and we are seeing daily improvements in her strength as a result of her efforts. Her PT consists of ten sets of exercises (such as arm lifts or leg lifts) that focus on strength, rotation and flexibility. The nurses created a "prize tree" for her, and every time she completes an exercise, they move a monkey from one tree to the next, and when one tree is full of monkeys, she gets a prize (usually a Silly Band). Because of these exercises, she is now able to sit for longer periods of time while keeping her balance, which is a huge step!
Her recovery has allowed her to play on her new iPad with her brothers, Facebook with friends, take daily trips to the Cafeteria, and feed the birds on a beautiful sunny day with her family in the hospital's garden.
We believe that her "can do" attitude is 100% fueled by the love and support of family, friends and strangers. This past month, several members of her school family visited her, including Principal Boyd, her 3rd grade teacher Mrs. Daily, her future occupational therapist Mrs. Ouellette, her future 4th grade teacher Mrs. Gray, and the new Assistant Principal Mr. Hurt. She even got a visit from NH Governor John Lynch! And of course, her sister, brothers and parents have made sure that one of them is always at her side. She knows that we can't wait for her to come home.
We continue to be floored and humbled by the outpouring of kindness that Bella and the rest of our family have received. We would be remiss if we didn't acknowledge the tremendous efforts that have been made over the past month to raise money for Bella's fund. These have included The Blue Ruin NYC Fundraiser, The Bella Tucker Fundraiser in Lynbrook, NY, The Chin up A-Thon, Bounce for Bella, lemonade stands, car washes, yard sales and hot dog stands throughout the community, all of which have been huge successes.
We also feel that two other fundraisers deserve a special acknowledgment. Sarah Sullivan, a radio host from local station Frank FM, heard Bella's story and reached out to us. Frank FM subsequently set up a Radio-thon for Bella and Sarah poured her heart into the event. The Radio-thon was held at Mack's Apples on Mammoth Road in Londonderry, and the station -- and Sarah -- devoted the entire day to raising awareness for Bella.
Jason Weeden is a local resident who also heard about Bella's plight and took it upon himself to raise money for her, despite the fact that she was a stranger. He has created Bella wristbands to raise awareness and recently organized a "Ride for Bella" and gathered over 200 motorcyclists to participate in the event. It was quite a sight, seeing the motorcycles in a line stretching over a mile long!
In summary, we are aware that Bella has a long road to recovery ahead, but at the same time, we are all so grateful for the love and support you have shown us. We will try to send updates more often, and in the meantime, hug your kids tight.