On the Rebound: Cancer Can’t Keep Alex Sidelined

By Levine Children’s, 2018 ISF Sustaining Sponsor

Alex Brogran, Levine Children’s Bone Cancer Patient

Basketball was everything to 11-year-old Alex Bogran – until a sudden leg injury left him sidelined last year. When Alex’s doctors couldn’t find a break or fracture to explain his worsening pain, they called for an MRI.

The results of the MRI were grim: Alex didn’t have an injury – he had osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer. “It was scary, but I knew everything was going to be okay,” Alex recalls of the diagnosis. “Everything works out in the end.”

For Alex, treatment would be far from easy. It required months of chemotherapy, plus a major surgery to remove the tumor and replace his knee. But his positive attitude never waned, making one thing clear: Treating cancer is tough, but Alex Bogran is tougher.

The full-court press of cancer treatment

Alex’s treatment required top specialists in oncology and orthopedics, and Levine Children’s Hospital was just the place for him to get all the cancer care he needed. “We’ve got some of the best in the country here, so it’s pretty incredible,” says Javier Oesterheld, MD, a pediatric hematologist and oncologist at Levine Children’s.

The first stage of Alex’s treatment was chemotherapy, which is hard for anyone, but it’s especially difficult for kids and their families. 

Knowing that, Alex’s care team put an idea into action: They devised a backpack that lets patients like Alex complete almost all of their chemo treatments at home. “I think that really changed things for him, to be honest. You saw a new Alex,” says Dr. Oesterheld. “You saw a much brighter, happier kid. That’s really the reason why we offer it.”

For the things that still required him to go to the hospital – like his surgery – Alex’s care team did everything they could to make his time at LCH as comfortable as possible. “It was hard, but they really helped me through it. I look at the positive thanks to them,” Alex says. 

A slam dunk for a more normal life

Since his knee replacement surgery, Alex has hit a lot of milestones. But there’s one milestone that surpasses them all: In February of 2018, Alex celebrated his last round of chemotherapy. 

These days, Alex is in physical therapy, where he’s learning to walk again. And one day, he’ll re-learn to jump, so he can get back on the court doing what he loves most.

Alex will continue to see his Levine Children’s care team frequently, to make sure the cancer isn’t coming back, but he’s well on the rebound. And through it all, Alex’s positive attitude has persevered, as has his never-failing belief that everything always works out in the end. 

Levine Children’s Hospital is part of Levine Children’s, a network of care for kids that includes hospital programs, as well as neighborhood pediatric offices and urgent cares. Year after year, LCH is named one of the nation’s top children’s hospitals by U.S. News & World Report for their life-changing care in more than 30 specialties.

Inspiring Others to Live Mutual

By Tim Flanagan, President of MassMutual Carolinas, 2018 ISF Sustaining Sponsor

Tim Flanagan and Caitlin Flanagan at the ISF 5K/10K for Kids Cancer

MassMutual Carolinas is proud to be a Sustaining Sponsor of the Isabella Santos Foundation. As a General Agency of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), we are backed by a mutually owned company that has helped people keep their promises, protect their families, and support their communities since 1851. MassMutual calls it Living Mutual, and it’s in their DNA. Ours too: along with MassMutual, we have been committed to serving our clients and giving back to our community since our doors first opened in 1890.

We pride ourselves on living out our core values – balance, growth, authenticity, conviction and stewardship – and ensuring that our clients have a secure financial future and protect the ones they love. Through this and living mutual, we are committed to inspiring others to rely on one another, give back, be interdependent to achieve happiness, make meaningful contributions and to be interconnected with our families, community and workplace.

The concept of living mutual is the core of our involvement with ISF. I have felt personally connected with the organization from day one when I ran – along with Caitlin Flanagan, my daughter and our firm’s strategic relationship manager – my first ISF 5K/10K for Kids Cancer. We hit the ground running in our support of this incredible organization and never looked back. Since then, many of our team members have gotten involved, followed by our firm becoming a Sustaining Sponsor in 2017.

The Isabella Santos Foundation is an upstanding and authentic organization that we value and believe in for many reasons. We appreciate being part of this amazing team, seeing where the funds are going in our community, and being inspired by the faces of who ISF supports. Through our partnership with ISF, we are relying on one another to make a meaningful contribution and impact on pediatric cancer research and patients. That’s a powerful way to live mutual.

Visit the MassMutual Carolinas website

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Timothy C. Flanagan, Jr., CLU, ChFC, CFP®, ChSNC™, CFBS, President of MassMutual Carolinas, is a registered representative of and offers securities, investment advisory and financial planning services through MML Investors Services, LLC Member SIPC (www.SIPC.org). Supervisory Office: 4350 Congress Street Suite 300, Charlotte, NC 28209 (704) 557-9600. Parent Financial is not a subsidiary or affiliate of MML Investors Services, LLC. CRN202008-235692

Save Our Summer Blood Drive

We are helping Community Blood Center of the Carolinas and Atrium Health’s Levine Children’s Hospital put out an S.O.S. to all local blood donors to Save Our Summer!

Collections have been down all summer, and local patients – including cancer patients who are the No. 1 recipients of blood – are counting on you to ensure a steady blood supply is available for those in need. The life-saving blood products they require can only come from volunteer donors like you.

The inaugural Save Our Summer Blood Drive will take place 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 23., in the main floor conference room of Atrium Health’s Levine Children’s Hospital (1000 Blythe Blvd. in Charlotte).

All presenting blood donors will receive a special limited-edition T-shirt as a thank you. 

The blood you donate with CBCC will be used to treat patients in our local hospitals, including Levine Children’s and at Atrium Health.

You can stop by to give on your lunch break, on your way home from work, or when you need a break from chores at home. The need for blood never takes a vacation. Make your appointment today: www.cbcc.us  |  1-888-59BLOOD

Charlotte Community Comes Together to Bring $141,141 IMPACT for Pediatric Cancer

WHAT LEGACY WILL YOU LEAVE?  WHAT IMPACT WILL YOU MAKE? HOW WILL YOU INSPIRE CHANGE?

Event Photos courtesy of Stikeleather Photography

Our 3rd Annual Coffee for a Cure Events last month were all about creating hope.  Hope for more pediatric cancer options.  Hope for new research.  Hope for families and children fighting this ugly disease.  Over two mornings, we talked about IMPACT, INSPIRATION and LEGACY and how we all can do our part to make things happen.  We are very excited to announce that we raised $141,141 over the course of the two mornings with donations still coming in!

The second week of April was a BIG week for the foundation!  Coffee for a Cure came directly on the heels of announcing our $5 million commitment to Levine Children’s Hospital to establish The Isabella Santos Foundation Rare & Solid Tumor Program at Levine Children’s Hospital.  This program will impact more than just Charlotte as it will be the first of its kind in the United States.  With this $5 million 5-year initiative, we hope to change lives.  We will be the foundation of something special and will have the best pediatric cancer program, right here is Charlotte.  It will take years of fundraising and years of building… but we hope you will join us in this important mission.

Ten years have passed, and we have seen lots of changes in the Isabella Santos Foundation and we are excited for what the future will bring.  The momentum is strong, the focus is broadening, and the mission to help is growing.  Three extremely proud accomplishments include:  1). Over $1 Million raised in 2017  2).  MIBG Suite is in process and to be unveiled Dec 2018 3). Isabella Santos Foundation has DONATED over $2.5 Million to date.  And we could never have made those accomplishments without every single donor, supporter, volunteer or team member.

We also couldn’t have accomplished such milestones without community leaders advocating for pediatric cancer and our foundation.  We are very proud to have some of the best community leaders on our side.  Joining us for another year as our event emcee, Molly Grantham of WBTV has been with us since the beginning and continues to support our foundation’s mission at every turn (and lately there has been a lot of them).  We thank Molly for her constant support and the IMPACT she is making and INSPIRATION she is creating through her #MollysKids work.

During our annual Coffee for a Cure events we look forward to recognizing individuals in our community with the 6th Annual Isabella Santos Award.  Congratulations to Tim McBride, Tom Patania, and Christie Keagy.  Each one of these individuals has made a difference to those around them and continue to do so. They are out to make an impact and inspire change. And we love that they impact and inspire in their own way.  We thank them for the kind individuals they are, the admirable characteristics they embody and all that they have done for the fight against childhood cancer.

To everyone who supports us…we cannot begin to put into words to how grateful that we are for the impact you are helping us make. We are so proud of what we have accomplished together and it is because of YOU.  We hope you will continue to join us.  We are fortunate to live a community that stands behind us.  Thank you to the following businesses who support our mission of fighting childhood cancer and helped us make the 2018 Coffee for a Cure Events possible. 

Event Photos courtesy of Stikeleather Photography

SUSTAINING SPONSORS

EVENT SPONSORS

Levine Children’s Hospital: We’re Doing All We Can to End Childhood Cancer

Content provided by Levine Children’s Hospital

Today, the 5-year survival rate for those with childhood cancers stands at more than 80 percent – up more than 20 points since the 1970s.

That’s encouraging news for families with children with cancer. But there’s still a long way to go, especially when funding for pediatric cancer remains low.

Here at Levine Children’s Hospital, we’re doing all we can to cure the incurable. We sat down with some of the cancer specialists at LCH to hear what excites them about cancer care here in the greater Charlotte area.

Personalized medicine. As part of the Beat Childhood Cancer initiative, LCH researchers are investigating tailored courses of chemotherapy based on a person’s individual genetic makeup. “We give you a personal answer, telling you what drugs may work for a specific tumor. For people who have gone through chemotherapy, that is a very unique thing,” says Javier Oesterheld, MD, medical director for pediatric hematology, oncology, and blood and marrow transplantation.

New technology for rare nerve cancer. LCH is building a dedicated lead-lined room to deliver a special kind of therapy called MIBG to treat neuroblastoma, a form of high-risk nerve cancer. We’ll be one of fewer than 20 centers in the United States to offer this type of therapy, says Dr. Oesterheld.

Dynamic approaches for blood and marrow transplantation. Replacing broken stem cells with healthy cells from a donor is one way to cure many types of cancer. We’re one of 12 institutions in the country studying a new technology that can help kids with cancer who have no other donors. “We have a number of kids who we’re helping save with this  technology, and we’re really privileged to be able to bring this top-level work here to Charlotte,” says Jeffrey Huo, MD, pediatric blood and marrow transplantation specialist.

Immunotherapies. Many new treatments for leukemia involve helping the body itself to fight off the cancerous cells. “We’re now able to trick the body’s own immune system into recognizing the leukemia cells as bad, so it can go and kill those cells,” says Joel Kaplan, MD, a pediatric hematologist-oncologist. “This type of research is one of the most cutting-edge things going on in the nation right now, and we’re contributing to those efforts here at LCH.”

Beyond new therapies, our doctors know that better treatment also includes providing the extra human touch – to be at our best when children are at their worst. “The science of cancer is always changing, which keeps us on our toes,” says Dr. Oesterheld. “But the idea of being able to get a child through probably the worst times of their lives – for us, that’s invaluable.”

Brighthouse Financial Supporting Charlotte Charity With Childhood Cancer Mission

Thank you to Brighthouse Financial for being an incredible partner to our foundation and continuing your Presenting Sponsorship status or our 10th Annual 5k/10k and 1 mile fun run for Kids Cancer for the second year!  We have been so thankful for the commitment and dedication this company has given to supporting the Isabella Santos Foundation and helping us make a difference for kids fighting cancer.  We simply could not do what we do without the community support behind our foundation.

“In January 2016, MetLife announced plans to pursue the separation of a substantial portion of its U.S Retail segment through a public offering of shares, a spin-off, or a sale.  The separation would allow MetLife to focus on businesses that have lower capital requirements and greater cash generation potential.  As an independent company, U.S Retail would benefit from greater focus, more flexibility in products and operations, and a reduced capital and compliance burden.

MetLife employees, 2016 ISF Race

This past June, the new company, named Brighthouse Financial, received regulatory and board of director approval to disaffiliate through a spin-off on August 4, and began trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market on August 7.

Brighthouse Financial is on a mission to help people achieve financial security.  Our world is changing every day; a company pension is the exception, not the rule, and reaching your 90th birthday isn’t unusual.  In these uncertain times, preparing for your retirement has never been so important.  We specialize in annuities and life insurance; two essential products that help protect what you’ve earned and ensure it lasts.  They work in tandem with the rest of your portfolio.

MeLife and Brighthouse Financial have a longstanding partnership with the Isabella Santos Foundation (ISF).  We have participated in the Isabella Santos Foundation Race each year since we moved to Charlotte in 2013, and 2017 marks our second year as Presenting Sponsor.  We also hosted an internship consulting project with ISF in the summer of 2016 and are excited to have raised over $50,000 for ISF through our Annual Community Golf Classic which benefited ISF in 2015 and 2017.”  – Apryl Silva, Real Estate & Community Relations

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