Local teen Isabella Johnson, 13, was an active and bright young gymnast before she contracted Lyme disease. The illness was initially misdiagnosed, and it took many trips to many doctors and medical facilities until it was finally identified as a 4th-stage neurological version of Lyme’s. Bella is now bedridden and her doctors do not yet know if the disease is reversible.
As planning commenced for this year’s Fred Beans Ford of Boyertown’s Mustang Stampede on June 22, the leadership team was challenged to devise a meaningful community connection for the event. And then they heard about Bella Johnson.
It wasn’t long before they began envisioning a sack of 1,000 get-well cards, inspiring notes and children’s artwork to be presented to Bella at the Stampede, a gift of the many warm wishes of people who care, whether strangers or not.
“Inspiring Bella” is what the planners are calling this ambitious initiative. With an uncertain prognosis and treatments that aren’t covered by insurance (because they’re considered “experimental” for the newness of this type of Lyme disease), Bella and her family need the hope that others can inspire with their kindness and caring.
“Can we raise 1,000 greeting cards to put a smile on a young girl’s face?” queried Mark Malizzi, Fred Beans Ford service manager who heads up the leadership team for the Mustang Stampede event. “I think we can.”
Throughout the month of May, people are invited to bring their get-well cards and notes to the Ford store – Fred Beans Ford of Boyertown, 525 Route 100 North, P.O. Box 524, Boyertown PA 19512 – and drop them in the “Bella Box,” where the dealership will be collecting inspiration to pass along to Bella. Those who wish to include gift cards or checks to help defray the family’s medical expenses can make these out to Isabella Johnson. All envelopes will be presented to Bella, unopened, at the Stampede.
Just imagine the hours of fun Bella will have opening all the well-meaning missives – to erase the hours of fear, pain and boredom that have been Bella’s companions for too many months now.
Last year’s Mustang Stampede raised $3,500 to assist in the medical bills and associated costs of recovery to help rebuild the life of Tim Donnelly, a combat Marine who lost both his legs overseas. Will this year’s Mustang Stampede surpass that? You can do your part.
This year’s 3rd Annual Mustang Stampede will be held at the Fred Beans Collision Center, 475 Route 100 North Boyertown.
For more information on the Stampede, phone Dave Rhoads or Scott Crafts, 610.367.2081