“Bella wanted to help other children and families who were going through a scary, life-threatening diagnosis. She was truly selfless, and her compassionate spirit touched people all over the world. Bella’s legacy lives on through her spirit of giving and sharing God’s love in the lives she touched.” — Brenda Muntean
Well before her osteosarcoma diagnosis at age 12, Bella was devoted to serving others in need. She volunteered in her community, invested time in her church and raised money for various cancer charities and fundraisers, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation. When cancer completely upended her and her family’s life in 2016, Bella’s mission to spread kindness did not falter.
The Mission Behind the Ministry
Bella was in her hospital bed fighting osteosarcoma when she created her ministry, Angel Heart of Hope. She wanted to give hope to children with life-threatening illnesses through gifts of love. Bella was inspired when her nurse, Pam Wrobel, drew an angel on her pillowcase. This gave her the idea to create more pillowcases like it to give comfort to children receiving treatment in hospitals. Pam graciously drew the angels, and Bella filled each pillowcase with gifts and toys. Bella’s love of dolls and the pure joy they gave her inspired her to donate larger gifts like American Girl dolls and LEGO sets to children upon diagnosis and for milestones like completing chemo or receiving clear scans.
Over the years, the charity has evolved to help in other ways, including supporting families in Upstate South Carolina. For example, if a family needs help paying their mortgage, rent, utilities or groceries, Angel Heart of Hope can offer gift cards and financial assistance. They also offer prayers and uplifting messages to families who request it.
Bella’s strong faith was a driving force in her mission to spread kindness, says her mother, Brenda Muntean, pictured above with Bella, her husband Dorin and Peter Anderson, MD, at the Cleveland Clinic. “Bella’s faith was unwavering, and she wanted everyone to know the love and hope in Jesus. She had a gift to see angels that began when she was four years old and continued up to her passing shortly after turning 15 years old.”
Bella shared her faith, charitable donations and love for American Girl dolls on her Instagram account, @thenookdolls. Though Bella passed away in 2018, Brenda continues to keep the account active, and it now has over 22,000 followers worldwide.
“It is so humbling when Bella’s friends and followers reach out to me to share how Bella impacted them, assuring me that she is never forgotten and always loved,” says Brenda. “God has used Bella’s suffering to ignite faith, change lives and create her ministry. I am truly blessed.”
Committed to her Cause
Although she went through immense suffering in the last few years of her life, Bella remained steadfast in her mission for Angel Heart of Hope. “Bella wanted to help other children and families who were going through a scary, life-threatening diagnosis,” says Brenda. “She was truly selfless, and her compassionate spirit touched people all over the world. Bella’s legacy lives on through her spirit of giving and sharing God’s love in the lives she touched.”
Today, Brenda runs Bella’s ministry with the support of her family, churches, community and volunteers, hosting fundraisers and virtual events to raise money for children and their families coping with cancer and life-threatening illnesses.
Angel Heart of Hope’s next Pediatric Cancer Cure Research Campaign is in September, and 75% of the funds raised will go to the Osteosarcoma Institute (OSI) to help advance osteosarcoma research.
“We need a cure for this horrible disease so no family endures this excruciating loss,” Brenda says. “I feel so blessed to be able to continue Bella’s legacy and to contribute to osteosarcoma research.”
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