MIAMI (CBSMiami) - A group of South Florida cyclists is heading to Orlando in memory of a young girl who fought a long, courageous battle against cancer.
The ride will help raise money for the "Live Like Bella Foundation" which contributes funding to pediatric cancer research efforts.
Raymond Rodriguez Torres, Bella's father, set off on the ride Wednesday morning along with several Miami police officers.
"Although this ride will be grueling, it pales in comparison to radiation and chemotherapy which is what these children have to endure," he said.
Torres kissed his wife and hugged his daughter before hitting the road.
The group will travel 300 miles over three days from Miami to Orlando, a place that was a special spot for his little girl.
"This year they wanted to end it at Disney world, which was her favorite place," said Bella's mother, Shannah Rodriguez Torres. "We were able to take her there three weeks before she passed. She was able to go on 'It's a Small World' one last time."
"We were literally in the park for 15 minutes," said Miami Police Lt. Javier Ortiz. "She was gravely ill at the time on many different medical life support systems. I haven't been back to the park since then."
For Ortiz, the ride is personal. Bella wanted to be a police officer just like him.
"She named me her partner and I was with her to the end," he said.
After a prayer asking for strength and safety, the group started pedaling.
The cyclists are documenting their travels on social media, including the streaming site "Periscope" under the name LiveLikeBella
"Thank you for the donation from Coral Springs," Rodriguez Torres said during the livestream Wednesday morning while cruising through Boca Raton.
They hope to raise $25,000.
"It's just amazing what they're trying to do to help the children, all of our children, because it affects everybody," the girl's mother said.
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