Bella's Ball raises money for a very special cause

Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Jacob Wilburn escorts his girlfriend Bella Huey during her benefit pageant. Bella's mother, Jennifer Huey, said Wilburn and his family has been a huge support system for her daughter.

By Ivory Riner

Staff Writer

Bella's Ball, which was held last month, raised over $6,200 for a very special girl who suffers from brain cancer.

Bella Huey, who is a freshman at Marshall County High School, was diagnosed with Astrocytoma last year. She has malignant tumor on her brain that is unsuitable for a surgical procedure because it's on her motor strip. If doctors were to remove the tumor, it would leave her completely paralyzed on her left side.

Michelle Hargrove, Jessica Luna, and the parents of the Briana Nicole Diestelow (BND) Extreme All-Star gymnasts were the ones behind the pageant that raised money for Bella's family.

Bella's Ball was held on Feb. 21 in the Cornersville High School auditorium and had 125 boys and girls ranging from less than 12 months to 19 years old participating.

Bella's sister Caroline is a BND Extreme All-Star at Marshall County Cheer and Tumble. That is where Hargrove came to know the Hueys and Bella's condition.

"We spend so much time together so that's how we found out what was going on," said Hargrove, director and head coach of BND Extreme All-Stars.

With the fees from each contestant to enter the pageant, a charge for each person to watch it, and several donations, the pageant raised $6,200.

About 600 people came throughout the day to watch the pageant, but Hargrove thinks more would have come if it weren't for the cold and snowy weather.

After being diagnosed, Bella's father Doug Huey had to start working part-time hours to be able to take Bella to her treatments.

"I think we can all imagine the financial struggle they will face," said Hargrove.

Hargrove and the parents at Marshall County Cheer and Tumble paid Caroline's tumble account so she would be able to continue with the team.

"Caroline has worked very hard over the last three years, and we knew that as a young teenager with everything going on with her family, she would quickly feel that everything was 'all about Bella,'" said Hargrove.

"I wanted to make sure that she was able to do something that she that she could call her own, something and some place that she could get away from all the craziness of her sister's diagnosis."

After Hargrove and the BND Extreme All-Star parents agreed they would chip in the money to pay off her account, they decided they would come up with a way to help the family more.

"I'm a critical care nurse, and my biggest fear has been that one of my kids would be diagnosed with cancer and be left helpless and with all the medical knowledge I have would be worth nothing," said Hargrove.

"So when Jennifer's daughter, same age as my son, was diagnosed, it touched my heart. I knew we had to do something!"

The vision of the pageant was to make sure Bella was given a special moment of her life during the heartache with which her family was dealing.

During the tallying of the Junior Miss Belle category, Bella came out on stage as if she were a contestant. In her flowy purple dress and head-wrap, her biography was read while she and her boyfriend, Jacob Wilburn, stood on stage.

She was given a standing ovation by everyone watching.

"At that moment the tears were running down my face, I knew that all the stress and hard work was worth every bit of it," said Hargrove.

After the pageant a formal dance was held in the old gym of the high school.

"The girls always get all dressed up and then have nowhere to go. We wanted to have something fun for the participants to do after the pageant," said Hargrove.

Jennifer Huey, Bella's mother, described her daughter as being talented, smart, persevering, and a good friend to all around her.

"I was excited when I found out they were doing this, more so that they honored Bella. I wasn't thinking about the money at all, I just cried when Michelle told me how much was raised," said Jennifer Huey.

"The fact that the community came together for my daughter was amazing. Our family felt very blessed that the community thinks so much of Bella."

Leah Hollingsworth, who was the winner of the Miss Belle category, has supported Bella from day one.

"When Bella was diagnosed, Leah had all of the freshman students wear lime green to the ballgames in honor of Bella and gave out gray ribbons to represent brain tumors. 'Tigers are Bella Strong' was written on their T-shirts," said Jennifer Huey.

Bella's parents said they have no choice but to be strong through all that is going on.

Jennifer Huey said Bella's faith has really carried her through and God has definitely given her the strength that she needs.