Connective Issues Spring 2024

Percussionist RocksOn! BELLASERA

When Bella Sera was growing up in Houston, Texas, she was tired of other kids calling her derogatory names due to her Marfan-syndrome-related tall stature, so she told them to call her “an Amazon” instead. “If you’re going to call me something related to my height, call me an Amazon,” she said. “I took it as a big compliment to be called something that related to Wonder Woman.” That boldness and positive outlook has taken Bella on a journey to become a rock drummer, and a bit of a Wonder Woman in her own right. Bella was not cleared for contact sports or trampolines as a child, so she took a di ff erent route inspired by her uncle who was a drummer also living with Marfan. “I started drumming because I couldn’t do the other activities,” said Bella. “Thankfully, that was one of the things I could do. My doctor was like, ‘Of course you can drum. Why not?’” For Bella, drumming is its own kind of sport, “I’m a super high-energy drummer, I move my whole body when I play,” she said. The necessity to seek alternatives to typical after to graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in sound recording and aspirations toward a master’s degree in jazz from Texas State University. Being Realistic, Practicing Self-Care Bella has learned to work around her physical limitations by being realistic about them and practicing self-care. On doctor’s advice, she never lifts more than 10-15 pounds. On tour, that means asking for help when moving equipment. She also pays attention to her body. To handle the rigors of touring, Bella sticks to a routine and physical activity for which she is medically cleared. “I make sure that I still go to the gym at least three times a week, but I don’t push myself,” she said. “I do very light cardio and very low-weight toning exercises.” school activities due to Marfan syndrome has led her to where she is today – ready to go on a multi-state tour with her band, Tough on Fridays, and poised

“Learn to show o ff what makes you, you, and be proud of it. There’s only one version of you, and that is what makes you so gorgeous.” ~Bella

Be Yourself, Love Yourself Bella is on a mission to show younger women and girls with Marfan syndrome that you can smash through stereotypes and expectations to build your own presence. As part of an all-women rock band and as a percussionist, she’s happily breaking through societal boundaries. “People who don’t have Marfan syndrome, when you’re a kid you do football, cheerleading, dance class, karate,” she said. “I feel like a lot of those options are often closed o ff for people with Marfan, so we get funneled into these more unique activities. That gives us an advantage when we learn something that nobody else gets to know about.”

Learn more about Bella by checking out her Instagram b_the_drummer and her band’s site.

As always, before taking part in any physical activity, it’s important that community members consult with their personal expert healthcare providers.


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