Isabella Santos Foundation Receives $45,000 Gift from All-In to Fight Cancer

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Aug. 13, 2018 – The Isabella Santos Foundation announced today that it received a $45,000 donation from the All-In to Fight Cancer 2018 Texas Hold’em fundraiser.

“The Isabella Santos Foundation is a wonderful beneficiary partner and we are thrilled to be able to support their mission and make an impact on our local cancer community,” said Steve Amedio, co-founder of All-In to Fight Cancer.

The donation to Isabella Santos Foundation will support research for neuroblastoma and other rare pediatric cancers, including two endeavors at Atrium Health’s Levine Children’s Hospital: the MIBG Suite, a specialized therapy program which is under construction, and the Isabella Santos Foundation Rare and Solid Tumor Programannounced earlier this year.

“We greatly appreciate the generous donation from All-In to Fight Cancer and being among its cancer charity partners,” said Erin Santos, Executive Director and President of the Isabella Santos Foundation. “The All-In Texas Hold’em fundraiser is a terrific event that brings the community together to make incredible things happen for cancer patients in our Queen City.”

About All-In To Fight Cancer

Founded in 2010, All-In to Fight Cancer is a grassroots, nonprofit group dedicated to increasing public awareness and raising money to find a cure for cancer, by hosting Texas Hold’em tournaments. To date, they have raised over $1,000,000 to support the fight against cancer. Each year, they choose benefitting organizations that are doing incredible things in the local cancer community. They are a grassroots organization that is committed to keeping their funding local and as high-impact as possible – every penny of our proceeds goes straight to our partners. For more information, visit

About Isabella Santos Foundation

The Isabella Santos Foundation (ISF) is a 501(c)3 childhood cancer foundation dedicated to raising funds for research for neuroblastoma, other rare pediatric cancers, and charities that directly impact the lives of children with cancer. ISF was founded in honor of Isabella Santos from Charlotte, N.C. who lost her battle against neuroblastoma. ISF works to improve rare pediatric cancer treatment options in an effort to improve the survival rate of kids with cancer. For more information, visit  or follow ISF on Facebook (, Instagram ( and Twitter (

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Jenni Walker – Walker PR Group – 980-339-8041-office/704-649-6571-cell

#WishWednesday: American Girl Gifts

The Isabella Santos Foundation September 5k/10/Fun Run for Kids Cancer event is approaching fast on September 29th, 2018.  We hold this event in September for one reason… to raise awareness for pediatric cancer awareness month and push YOU to take action.  Last year we had almost 3,000 participants and raised close to $380,000!   This event was started in honor of one girl’s fight against neuroblastoma and we love to see how it continues to grow each year in her honor.  The proceeds from this event support our foundation’s commitment to establish the Isabella Santos Foundation Rare & Solid Tumor Program at Levine Children’s Hospital, a $5 million commitment.

Every year our Auction Committee works tooth on one of our most coveted race day activities, the ISF Auction & Raffle.  We pride ourselves in creating one of the best ISF Auction & Raffles in the city.  But we can’t do it without our generous supporters and businesses.  Are you willing to help us create a must-have package?

Isabella and her American Girl Doll

Isabella didn’t go many places without her American Girl dolls… even at the hospital receiving blood products as pictured here! Isabella spent hours dressing her dolls and picking out their outfits.  They were her comfort items during childhood cancer treatments.

For today’s Wish Wednesday ask we are requesting all things American Girl for our upcoming auction at our 11th Annual 5k/10k For Kids Cancer event. Anything American Girl is appreciated: gift cards, dolls, outfits and accessories. These dolls brought so much joy to Isabella, help us bring joy to another little girl in her honor!

Mail to:

Melanie Miller/ISF Auction Chair
9930 Hazelview Drive
Charlotte 28277

Wanted: Auction Committee Volunteers

Our Silent Auction is a huge part of our fundraising efforts each year!  Our Auction Committee is moving full steam ahead creating must-have auction packages. We are excited to not only have our auction available at our annual 5K/10K For Kids Cancer event, but also an auction at the NEW Pumpkin Charity Ball in October with Receptions for Research: The Greg Olsen Foundation.  We are in need of more volunteer hands.

We don’t just need help securing items… but packaging them as well.  We receive such fun items from our generous community businesses and beyond:  Date night packages with hotel/dinner/limo, jewelry, kids activities, sports tickets and memorabilia, spa packages, vacations and more.  We would love for you to join our Auction Committee and help us make this year’s silent auction a success.  Our two auction needs are:

  1. Auction Procurement:  our community (and far beyond) have been so generous in donating items for our silent auction.  We need your help in requesting donations from local businesses and securing the items.
  2. Auction Packaging:  Don’t feel comfortable asking for donations?  We still need your help… just as much work goes into the packaging .

We hope you will join us and volunteer this summer to help make our silent auctions the best in town.  Interested in learning more, please email Melanie, our Auction Committee Lead:

Things we hate to do, but still need to be done

Written by Erin Santos, Isabella’s Mom

I get it.  It’s not a fun thing to do.  You may drive all the way to the center and get turned away.  It’s cold in there.  It may take them a couple of tries to find a good vein.  You are worried you might pass out.  It might be uncomfortable for a while.  It’s boring.  It may take a little longer than you want it to.  I know all these things that go through your head, because they go through mine too.

You would think after our family’s experience, I would be giving blood every chance I could.  But, like you all – I get busy or some of these excuses start ringing in my head.  I have to be honest though, I do try as much as I can to give blood if I have the chance at a blood drive.  Giving blood doesn’t take long at all and other than having to control my alcohol or exercise that day – it doesn’t impact my life too much.  It’s like voting for me.  I feel good doing it and feel proud walking around with my elbow wrapped up in horrible blue tape for a couple of hours.  It’s like a battle scar that somehow says, “I care”.

Platelets.   For some reason this process is a whole new ball game.  I don’t give them as much as I should.  I’m just lazy about it really.  I’m very particular about my platelet giving.  It is a must to have someone with me to entertain me for 90 minutes.  I can’t focus on Isabella too much in those chairs or the experience may become to painful.

I have had some very memorable platelet donations.  The first anniversary of her death, I decided to schedule a platelet donation during the hours she died of June 28th.  I figured that if I was going to do this in her honor, let’s really do it.  The center was full that day as we were really pushing for 100 platelet donors that week, which is harder than landing on the moon apparently.  I sat in my chair and watched seas of purple come in and out.  Everyone knew that I was struggling because I sat there trying to have conversation, but knowing that tears that were falling slowly from my eyes as I talked.

I could see the hour of her death approaching and I just wanted to die.  My brother came in during that time and sat with me.  I think he gave blood instead of platelets that morning but all I really remember was him being with me.  He was there with me on the day we found out she had cancer, up until the day she died in our house.  He is a quiet brother at times but his presence is heavy.  We don’t often talk during these times about what is really going on in our head – it’s like an unspoken thing.  He knew how hard it was for me as I sat there and sobbed.  He just sat there – understanding how the things we hate to do, still need to be done.  This is not where I wanted to be on this morning and he knew it.  He knew I wanted to be in my bed, sobbing and not sitting here in this gray chair.  But once again, I was doing something, not for myself, but for her.  It was the longest donation of my life – but the most meaningful.

We left that morning together and drove to pick out an engagement ring for his girlfriend, Laura.  He let me be a part of a huge day in his life, maybe because I let him be a part of mine.  We went to lunch and had a drink and laughed.  By then my tears were dried up and I had focused on the excitement of his day.  He was starting a new chapter and I got to be there for it.  It was a good day in the end.

Each year as this date approaches, I feel myself wanting to retreat.  I have gotten a little smarter and try to no longer go during that hour of her passing.  It’s just not a smart thing for me to do anymore.  But I still go.  I go because I know how important blood and platelets were to her survival.  I go because I remember her bruising from the slightest touch and how platelets repaired her body so easily.  I go because I remember her not being able to walk into the hospital, only to find out that she was in such desperate need of a blood transfusion that I would have to carry her tired body everywhere.  She would run out of the clinic after her transfusion, as if the events of the earlier day never occurred.

I go because every time I’m there and I check in, the staff knows me and knows her.  Someone there always says a kind word to me about her legacy and I know there is no where else I should be.

I go because it’s the right thing to do.  I go for her.

Please help us honor Isabella through your platelet donation with The Community Blood Center of the Carolinas during the entire week of June 21-28…AND at ANY of their locations.  Our goal is a 100 donations.

– DATES: Thursday, June 21st – Thursday, June 28th
– GOAL: 100 donations
– PHONE: 1-888-59BLOOD / Can call to schedule at any center

Lake Norman Forest Run Benefiting the Isabella Santos Foundation

LAKE NORMAN FOREST RUN  |  HALF MARATHON & 5K  |  JULY 28, 2018  |  7:00AM- 11:00AM

Excited to add this to our partner event list! Announcing the Lake Norman Forest Run on July 28th benefiting the Isabella Santos Foundation, race 1 of the Lake Norman Half Marathon series by Epic Sports Marketing. Mostly in the shade on the well paved roads of Lake Norman State Park, this run has a half marathon and a 5K option.

Details –
Register –

Platelet Drive in Memory of Isabella Santos – June 21-28

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – June 13, 2018 – One hundred platelet donations in memory of Isabella Santos. That’s the goal for the week-long platelet drive that the Isabella Santos Foundation is hosting with Community Blood Center of the Carolinas from Thursday, June 21-Thursday, June 28.

The platelet drive is being held on the sixth anniversary of Isabella Santos’ passing to celebrate her life and legacy. She passed away June 28, 2012, from a five-year battle with neuroblastoma, a rare type of pediatric cancer. During her treatment, she received several blood and platelet transfusions. According to CBCC, cancer patients are the No. 1 recipients of blood products. One local children’s hospital alone requires nearly 300 units of red blood cells and more than 100 units of platelets each month.

“Community Blood Center of the Carolinas has been near and dear to our hearts since Isabella received numerous blood and platelet transfusions to help her stay strong and fight neuroblastoma,” said Erin Santos, executive director and president of the Isabella Santos Foundation. “Hosting this platelet drive is an impactful way we can honor Isabella’s legacy and support local patients who need lifesaving platelets and blood products.”

Those interested can donate platelets at any of CBCC’s five donation centers in Charlotte (4447 South Blvd.); Concord (363 Church St. North); Gastonia (2524 E. Franklin Blvd.); Hickory (2217 Highway 70 SE); or Greensboro (616 Pasteur Drive). Those not able to donate platelets can give whole blood in honor of Isabella at any of CBCC’s donation centers. Appointments are required for platelet donations. To make a platelet donation appointment, email or call 1-888-59BLOOD and use group code Isabella.

In addition, Jersey Mike’s will provide cookies to all presenting donors at CBCC’s Charlotte Donation Center on June 28 to thank the donors and celebrate Isabella with something sweet.

“ISF is the manifestation of Isabella’s legacy of community support and caring,” said Martin Grable, president and CEO of CBCC. “We deeply appreciate the relationship that has developed of the years. Partnering with such a determined and tremendously successful group of people dedicated to raising awareness of rare childhood cancer and what can be done about it makes our work at CBCC even more rewarding.”

About Community Blood Center of the Carolinas

Community Blood Center of the Carolinas is the local nonprofit, community-based blood center and the primary blood supplier to the region’s hospitals. CBCC collects blood and blood products from volunteer donors in the community to return to the community at the lowest possible cost consistent with the highest possible standards. CBCC is a member of America’s Blood Centers, North America’s largest network of community-based, independent blood centers that provide more than 50 percent of the nation’s blood supply. For more information, visit

For more information on hosting a blood drive or donating blood in your area, visit or call 1-888-59BLOOD.

Follow Community Blood Center of the Carolinas on Facebook, on Instagram and on Twitter

About Isabella Santos Foundation

The Isabella Santos Foundation (ISF) is a 501(c)3 childhood cancer foundation dedicated to raising funds for research for neuroblastoma, other rare pediatric cancers, and charities that directly impact the lives of children with cancer. ISF was founded in honor of Isabella Santos from Charlotte, N.C. who lost her battle against neuroblastoma. ISF works to improve rare pediatric cancer treatment options in an effort to improve the survival rate of kids with cancer. For more information, visit  or follow ISF on Facebook (, Instagram ( and Twitter (


Jenni Walker – Walker PR Group – 980-339-8041-office/704-649-6571-cell


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