Cheers to those who continue to show their support for a brave little girl from Londonderry.
Sunday was the day for the third annual "Ride for Bella," a fundraising motorcycle ride to benefit Bella Tucker of Londonderry.
Bella, 10 and a Londonderry Middle School sixth-grader, lost all four limbs to streptococcus pneumonia sepsis in April 2010. Doctors in Boston had to perform the quadruple amputation after she developed the life-threatening infection on Easter Sunday, 2010.
Now, Bella and her family face massive medical bills — as well as the problems faced by all parents of growing children, problems that are made more complex by her condition. Bella has already outgrown 10 pairs of prosthetic legs.
There has always been strong community support for Bella and her family. Volunteers helped rebuild the family's home to make it accessible and easier for Bella to use. And the annual motorcycle ride helps raise money for expenses. Last year, some 400 riders participated and raised $16,000.
This year, supporters hoped to do even better.
Hundreds of motorcycle riders gathered at Steve 'N' James Tavern for the start of the ride to the seacoast. This year, Bella came along, too, in a sidecar decorated with sunflowers and labeled "Bella's ride."
Throughout her ordeal, Bella has remained strong, cheerful and optimistic — amazing qualities for a 10-year-old facing such challenges. She is sure to grow into an equally strong, determined young woman. And while that strength comes from within Bella, it is surely nurtured by the support of family, close friends and the community at large, as exemplified by those who turn out every year for the motorcycle ride.
That support speaks truly of the very best our community has to offer.
Derry dog earns new video honors
The awards are piling up for Derry's most talented canine.
Max the Pug has won first place in the national Best Friends Pet Care's "Be Your Own Dog" pet personality video contest. Max, 6, lives with owners Martin and Linda McCue, has won several awards for his video antics.
The 60-second video shows the pug pestering Martin to get out of bed on a Sunday morning. The contest judges said they selected the video because it best fulfilled the contest criteria, receiving top scores for originality, entertainment value and video quality.
Max is quite the video star. Several years ago, he traveled to California to tape a segment of "America's Funniest Home Videos." Max's video earned him second place.
Martin McCue is a video teacher at Salem High School. He said Max loves making videos, usually set in the family home.
"He just did a Fourth of July video where he did the Pledge of Allegiance," McCue told our reporter. "He is so used to cameras, he'll just sit there forever."
Max's videos can be seen on YouTube, where he has received about 1.4 million hits. That's enough to rank him as a very successful dog.
Kudos to Max for his star qualities and burgeoning video career.