Leading The Way in MIBG Therapy

Dawn Bartock

We are very fortunate to have Atrium Health’s Levine Children’s Hospital and an incredible pediatric nurse practitioner who is leading the charge with MIBG Therapy in our region.

Dawn Bartock, MSN, CPNP, CPHON, is the MIBG Therapy Program Lead at Levine Children’s Hospital. Being a nurse is all she has ever wanted to do. Dawn started her nursing career in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, including time with Pediatric Hospice, then joined Levine Children’s Hospital from 2005-2011. She obtained her nurse practitioner degree in 2011 and left LCH to further her career in Pediatric Oncology at Texas Children’s Hospital and at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, where she was the MIBG Therapy Nurse Practitioner. 

After Levine Children’s Hospital got the green light to build an MIBG Therapy Suite, Dr. Oesterheld – Dawn’s mentor – tapped her to lead the MIBG Therapy Program literally from the ground up. So in 2015, Dawn returned to Charlotte and to Levine Children’s Hospital. What started as a side project while she was working clinically as a nurse practitioner on the inpatient oncology unit, has become a full-time position where Dawn oversees every aspect of planning and building the ISF MIBG Therapy Suite. 

“Being a part of the MIBG Therapy Suite construction process has been rewarding and fun,” said Dawn who is currently taking a break from the clinical part of her job, which will resume when the MIBG room opens later this year. “I feel like the jack of all trades and love been involved in this project.”

Not only does she bring her previous MIBG experience to her role and vision of what this state-of-the-art MIBG program should entail, Dawn has a connection to Isabella. During her first stint at Atrium Health in the outpatient clinic, Dawn was one of Isabella’s nurses who assisted the oncology team with writing chemo orders, scheduling scans, and helping Erin and the family with questions and concerns throughout therapy. 

“Isabella was always a sweetheart who had the sweetest little voice,” said Dawn. “One of my biggest memories of Isabella is the relationship she had with her brother, Grant, and them holding hands during clinic visits. It is very exciting to be involved in Isabella’s legacy.”

Levine Children’s Hospital will be 1 of 20 hospitals to have a MIBG Treatment room in the U.S. and the only location in the Charlotte region. The two-room MIBG suite will provide targeted radiation to pediatric neuroblastoma patients with minimal side effects. This will impact kids fighting cancer beyond the greater Charlotte region and will eventually expand to include adults with rare tumors.

“It is very important that we tailored the suite to the patient and the family while keeping safety for the patients and staff the top priority,” said Dawn.

Patients will stay in the MIBG room 3-7 days after they get their injection. The suite is designed with an adjoining room for parents to stay and to be more involved with the day-to-day care of the patient. The MIBG room will have a giant viewing window and a close-circuit monitor for staff to have constant video access – and even remote access – to the patient. Area organizations and businesses are helping fund items such as parent gift baskets, iPads for the patients and specialized sheets that patients can choose upon their arrival. 

“There is a lot of support in Charlotte with the Isabella Santos Foundation, other wonderful organizations and from throughout our community to create a welcoming, positive and comfortable experience for the patients,” said Dawn. “This is an exciting time for the Isabella Santos Foundation and Levine Children’s Hospital.”

We are looking for individuals who want to be part of providing comfortable care for the kids/families that go through MIBG Treatment. Our MIBG Ambassador Program gives you the flexibility of raising $5,000 the way you want to raise it… 100% of funds raised through this program will be distributed very specifically through our LCH partnership with this very targeted MIBG purpose. {You do not have to be located in Charlotte to participate, contact Tia for details}


Families race through Ballantyne to raise money for kids cancer research (NBC WCNC)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Families across the Queen City were decked in purple Saturday morning for the annual Isabella Santos Foundation 5K and 10K for Kids Cancer Through Ballantyne.

The annual race was held to bring the community together at Ballantyne Corporate Park and raise funds for kids cancer research.

To read the full article please go here.

West Forsyth amputee runs 5K race six months after surgery (Winston Salem Journal)

With her oncologist, her husband and 125 other family members and friends by her side, Jenn Andrews completed her first 5K race since losing her foot to cancer six months ago.

Saturday’s race was the longest run Andrews, a West Forsyth graduate, had done since her below-the-knee amputation in March following diagnosis for a rare form of cancer.

“It was awesome, one of the top 10 best days of my life,” said Andrews, who runs with a springy blade prosthetic. “I was a little nervous — there were definitely hills and inclines — but I ran the whole thing without walking and even sprinted a bit at the end.”

To read the full article please go here.

5K Ambassador Spotlight: Derek and Tyler James

Derek and Tyler celebrating a post-race finish

As we gear up for the 11th Annual Isabella Santos Foundation 5K/10K for Kids Cancer this Saturday, we tapped one of our media ambassadors for some race-day tips.

Derek James, WCCB News Rising Co-Host/Staff Meteorologist, and his son Tyler will be among our ISF 5K race participants. An avid runner growing up, Derek got back into running races when Tyler was 7 and could run with him. They have run six races together and share these words of advice:

How did you get Tyler involved in running?

He saw me coach Let Me Run when he was 6 and so wanted to be on our team. He wasn’t old enough then but now I’m coaching a new team at Matthews Elementary now that he’s old enough to join.


Where do you enjoy running for fun?

Squirrel Lake Park is very close to our house so that’s where we typically go. It offers access to the Four Mile Creek Greenway which is a great place to run.


What is your most memorable race?

Tough to choose, but probably the Steve Smith Family Foundation Lace Up Son 5K. This was Tyler’s first race and it was in our town (Matthews). Tyler finished 1st in the 7 & under division and got his award from Steve Smith Sr. I ran my first Savage Race last year and that was an incredible experience as it was my first obstacle race.


What advice do you have for those who haven’t run before and are doing their first race at the ISF 5K/10K?

Derek: Find your perfect 5K race pace. Often on a first race you come out too fast and end up struggling somewhere near the 2-mile mark.

Tyler: Run slower at the start and then pick it up in the middle.


What do you both enjoy most about running together?

Derek: I love running with Tyler because it’s simple. Put on your shoes and go. Training alongside Tyler is more fun and we get to catch up and discuss anything on our minds.

Tyler: I enjoy running with dad because it’s a really good workout and it’s good to have together time and I love the training.


Do you have a favorite pre-race snack or meal?

Derek: Pre-race just a sports bar or a piece of toast, a little water and coffee.

Tyler:  I love a pre-race pasta and noodles dinner.


What’s your favorite warmup or stretch to do before run?

We like dynamic stretches leg swings and mountain climbers.


Running gear you couldn’t live without?

My Garmin for keeping pace.

Derek and Tyler with WCCB News@10 Anchor, Morgan Fogarty


If you could pick a song to push you through a tough part of a run, what would it be?

Derek: Tom Petty’s “Running Down A Dream”

Tyler: “I Love You I Need You” by Slushie


What are you most looking forward to at the ISF 5K/10K for Kids Cancer?

Derek: Getting outside on a beautiful morning and running a new course. Seeing other young people run in an effort to help other kids.

Tyler: I like that by running this race we get to help kids who have cancer and have fun while doing it.

Pounding for Parker

Parker and his brother

It’s no wonder why so many people are pounding for Parker. His strength, resiliency and determination are such an inspiration.

Parker was nearly seven years old when diagnosed with a very rare tumor on his spine. His cancer, which originated between one of his vertebrae, runs from his tail bone up into his lower brain. Because the tumor was mixed in with nerves in his spinal column, it was too risky to remove. So Parker underwent two different types of chemotherapy, which he completed in May 2017.

He also has more nerve damage in his left hand, but doesn’t let that stop him. Today, the fun-spirited nine-year-old is in third grade and has resumed school and his favorite sport – lacrosse. As part of his ongoing therapy, Parker continues to get monthly checkups and quarterly MRIs at Atrium Health’s Levine Children’s Hospital.

“He’s doing really well; living life like a normal kid and being a great big brother,” said his mom, Allison. “He has lots of energy, a good sense of humor and is very driven.”

Pounding for Parker Foundation check presentation to Levine Children’s Hospital

Because Parker may need additional therapy in the future and that there is no cure for his disease, his parents – Allison and Jonathan – launched the Pounding for Parker Foundation in 2017. The Foundation hosts an annual golf tournament, gala and other community events to raise funds to advance research for pediatric brain tumors and improve the quality of life for childhood cancer survivors. In its first year, the Pounding for Parker Foundation presented $100,000 to the Levine Children’s Hospital Brain Tumor Survivorship Clinic.

Among the organization’s fundraisers this year is the Pounding For Parker Foundation Gala. It will take place on Thursday, October 4 at 7:00 p.m. at Sweet Magnolia Estate in Cornelius. There will be a silent and live auction, chef-prepared food stations, beer, wine and live music. In addition, the silent auction will be online starting Thursday, September 27. For more information, to purchase tickets and to check out the silent auction, visit https://poundingforparker.org/event/.

“We’re excited to be in the Charlotte community and to give back to Levine Children’s Hospital,” said Allison. “Our doctors are like family and have really been there for us. We want to do everything we can to find a cure for pediatric brain tumors and come up with solutions for the many issues that pediatric cancer survivors face.”