Union City cops and coaches go to the basket for Bella

“I’m very happy and excited to be here and very grateful,” says five-year-old Isabella Perez of Union City, who’s been fighting leukemia since last summer. “Thank you to all my family and friends and supporters.”

Det. Carlos Pina helped organize the event and says his team came through, without hesitation.

“I made a phone call.  I said, ‘guys, we gotta get together for the cause, ya know, We Battle for Bella’ and we’re here,” Pina says.

It’s a no brainer for strangers and friends alike.

“I like feel bad that she’s sick so I asked my mom if I could come here,” says Giovanni, a 4th-grader.

“To give back, ya know, he (Pina) asked me and I said, ‘no charge,’ I’ll just do it for free.  I support everything,” says dance sensation Jafi, from Team LilMan.

“Actually had an aunt that passed away from cancer so I was 100 percent wit it,” adds Team LilMan’s Hybrid.

“She has cancer and I wanted to support her,” says 9-year-old Aimee.

There’s only one person you can really root for in this game.

“They asked me a question, ‘you’re a police officer; you coach some of the guys that are on the other team, who do you want to win’ and basically Bella won,” Pina says.

Norma Perez can’t thank people enough for the support.

“Everyone at the Board of Education to City Hall, Mayor Brian Stack,” the teacher says.

“All the police officers and chiefs who are out here to play this game for my daughter and hostess for her is just wonderful and I’m so thankful and grateful for everyone.”

Perez adds that the event really lifted Bella’s spirits and she was thrilled how much people care.

About The Author

Jillian has a passion for news, giving voice to the voiceless and telling stories that make an impact. A New Jersey native, she spent the past two years as a multimedia journalist/one-man-band at WTAP-TV, the NBC affiliate in Parkersburg, West Virginia, where she covered everything from meth busts to fracking to the homeless to a young man struck by lightening. She was her news director’s “go to health reporter” and also covered many education and political stories. She frequently interviewed the mayors of Parkersburg, Vienna and Williamstown, WV and Belpre and Marietta, Ohio. She interviewed OH Gubernatorial Candidate Ed Fitzgerald and OH Congressional Candidate Jennifer Garrison, as well as WV Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and WV Senator Joe Manchin. Jillian was a regular fixture at the local police, sheriff’s departments, prosecutors’ offices and courthouses. Many looked forward to her ‘Mom of the Month’ series. Her story about two women who lost their children to heroin was widely recognized, along with her much loved piece on the Battle Against Cystic Fibrosis band camp. In her free time, Jillian enjoys yoga; working out, live music, spending time with friends on both coasts and the Mid-Ohio Valley. Follow on Twitter @JillianRis

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