Teen raises money for Carmel Dance Marathon while recovering from stroke during brain surgery

Photo of Bella Simons, a senior at Carmel High School. (WISH Photo)

CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) — On Saturday, more than 1,000 Carmel High School students will participate in their annual Carmel Dance Marathon to raise money for Riley Hospital for Children.

Last year’s dance marathon raised more than $424,000. This year, there are a number of students who have already raised more than $1,000, including a student who is recovering from some very serious health issues of her own.

Bella Simons is a senior at Carmel High School. A few years ago, she had brain surgery to remove a brain tumor.

She was recovering well and was preparing for college, when, a few months ago, she had a stroke.

That stroke required a second brain surgery that took place last month and there were some complications.

“When she woke up from surgery, I didn’t know what was normal. From her first surgery, when she woke up, she couldn’t see, so initially I was excited she could see, but then I soon realized, she couldn’t talk,” said Tasha Simons, Bella’s mom. 

“I woke up and I was trying to say ‘Hey mom, dad, you’re here’ and like it came out wrong,” Bella said.

A MRI confirmed what her parents and doctors hoped it was not.

“This was a huge stroke over the language center of her brain that was really bad news. We asked if she would ever be able to speak again and she didn’t know,” Tasha said.

She could say “hungry,” but nothing else.

“I knew what I wanted to say if I wanted to say ‘Hey, I need to use the bathroom’ or ‘Hey I need food,’ it wouldn’t come out right,” Bella said.

Until one day, when what she wanted to say, was what came out.

“I woke up and I said ‘Hi mom’ and I didn’t really realize that she could hear me,” Bella said.

“I was over the moon, oh it was just amazing cause I was just blown away by God’s faithfulness. I was so afraid of losing her and having her, but not have her be herself and that was a danger, too and just seeing that I still had my Bella back, that my baby was still there,” Tasha said.

Two weeks after her surgery, Bella was home.

“Her recovery is miraculous. We’re talking talking two huge strokes, two major brain surgeries, two brain tumors and she’s doing amazingly well,” Tasha said about what doctor’s have told her about Bella’s recovery.

It’s allowing Bella to continue to be the strong, courageous and positive girl that she is.

To contribute to Bella’s Carmel Dance Marathon fundraising page, click here. 

To view other Carmel Dance Marathon pages, click here.