LONDONDERRY — The weather was perfect Sunday morning for the second annual Ride for Bella. Over 400 riders took off on 300 motorcycles just after 10 a.m. from Steve and James Tavern in Derry.
Bella Tucker, 9, is the South Londonderry Elementary School fourth-grader who was rushed to Boston in April 2010, with a life-threatening illness, streptococcus pneumonia sepsis, that resulted in quadruple amputations.
Bella has returned to school and is adjusting to a new way of life, but she will need continuous medical care and adjustments to her prosthetics as she grows.
"It was very emotional," said Selena Tucker Roarty, Bella's mom, of the ride. "We took the back roads to the seacoast, and so many people came rushing out of their houses to wave."
The ride lasted a little over two hours with a ride along the coast and a stop at Seacoast Harley Davidson in North Hampton.
Riders came from all over; Roarty said she heard one even came up from South Carolina.
"It was so touching to see all these people come out for Bella," Roarty said. "Bella was so excited. She joined us back at the restaurant for the party after the ride."
The party included live music by The Roadhouse Band.
"We raised $9,000 with the registrations," Roarty said. "We also had raffles, bracelets and T-shirts."
Roarty doesn't have a grand total yet as money is still coming in but said the event raised more than the $16,000 it raised last year.
"We ran out of T-shirts," Roarty said. "We had 300 made for the ride."
Roarty said Bella was "really looking forward to the summer."
She will be visiting family in Southern California this week. At the end of the summer, Bella and her family will be taking a Hawaiian cruise courtesy of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
By Suzanne Laurent