6th Annual Isabella Santos Award

Don’t ever underestimate the impact that you may have on someone else’s life.

Last week during our Coffee for a Cure events, we recognized three individuals with the 6th Annual Isabella Santos Award.  Each award recipient below 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.

Tom Patania & Tim McBride, Isabella Santos Award Recipients with last year’s recipient Jackson Lowry (middle)


If you have ever attended a run in Charlotte, you know him.  His famous beard and part-time Christmas job may have you know his face, but if that’s all you know – you are missing out.  Tim McBride lost both of his parents to cancer and his story is amazing.  2 years ago he said he was going to run 50 miles in honor of losing his dad 50 years ago.  I came out and joined him on his run for about 11 miles and listened to him tell me his life story and how Cancer Messed With the Wrong Kid by taking both of his parents.  He runs for every type of cancer cause and is constantly fundraising.  He runs every single day – and as of today has run 2,324 days in a row – never stopping one single day.  He is one of our top foundation supporters and is our most loved Dream Team member for sure.  


We never would have met Tim, had there not been a Tom.  Tom Patania, our beloved Dream Team marathon coach graciously stepped forward 5 years ago with an idea of training a few people to run a half-marathon for ISF.  All in the name of his mom who lost her own battle to cancer.  5 years later, hundreds of runners and over $400,000 later – his impact became 10 fold.  Tom was up before the sun, organizing runs, water stops, cheerleading and motivating a team of grumpy early morning runners.  His positivity and optimizim was infectious.  He helped make runners and walker’s dreams a reality and in the same time – made a huge impact in the world of pediatric cancer.  

Christie Keagy & Erin Santos, Isabella Santos Award


Impact comes in many different forms.  Not only has Christie made a personal impact on Isabella and her family, she continues to volunteer for our organization by serving on the Auction Committee and volunteering for events throughout the year.  Christie is always available when we need a last minute volunteer to make something happen and she constantly spreads the word about our fight against childhood cancer.

“I realized the last couple of months of Isabella’s life we never heard her kids play outside ever.  She kept her children inside, so that I didn’t have to hear other little girls play outside.”  -Erin Santos

View all past award recipients

Veranda & Vine – April 25 6PM

When: April 25, 2018 6:00 PM – 8:00PM
Location: Whole Foods Market in Waverly
Supporting: The Isabella Santos Foundation
Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/veranda-vine-hey-rose-tickets-45208434645

Rose’ anyone? Please join us on the second floor veranda at Whole Foods Market in Waverly Charlotte for VERANDA & VINE: “Hey Rose”. $10.00/person and includes Rose’ Wine Sampling and light bites. What a great seasonal event and ALL Proceeds benefit The Isabella Santos Foundation and their fight on pediatric cancer.



Jersey Mike’s raises $135,000 for local pediatric cancer foundation during nationwide Month of Giving

37 Greater Charlotte area restaurants.  300+ smiling employees. 7,271 loafs of bread.  Countless paper sub bags.  Hundreds of community partners and long lines of volunteers, supporters and friends.  $135,000 RAISED.  Thank you for eating subs with us in March.  Thank you Jersey Mike’s Subs for your give back and make a difference attitude. It is these actions that create IMPACT.

Jersey Mike’s Subs joined forces with its generous customers throughout the Greater Charlotte area in March, to support the Isabella Santos Foundation (ISF) during the 8th Annual “Month of Giving” campaign.  The campaign raised an incredible $141,000 for ISF which will help fight rare pediatric cancer in the Charlotte region and beyond.  ISF recently committed $5 Million to establish The Isabella Santos Foundation Rare and Solid Tumor Program at Levine Children’s Hospital (LCH).  This program will oversee care for all solid tumors, rare tumors, MIBG therapy, and all related clinical and scientific research at LCH and it will be the first of its kind in the United States.

The month of fundraising culminated on March 28th with Jersey Mike’s nationwide “Day of Giving” where 100% of the sales, not just the profits, were donated to the local charities.

More than $6 million was raised by Jersey Mike’s around the country, impacting more than 170 oganizations. Thank you for eating at Jersey Mike’s in March with us.  The funds raised for the Isabella Santos Foundation stay right here in the Charlotte community.  During times like these, we feel extremely humbled. Isabella has moved us and many others to take action for kids fighting cancer. Good things are happening because of Isabella’s legacy.  Thank you Queen City!

“Jersey Mike’s is very honored to be a partner with such a great organization like ISF who is making a huge impact on the fight against pediatric cancers.  It is truly amazing how many families the foundation touches and what a huge difference they are making in their lives.  We are so proud to be a small piece of all this and look forward to a long lasting relationship with ISF.” – Nick Smith, Jersey Mike’s Charlotte Franchise Owner

Charlotte Day of Giving Photos

Committed to Improving Pediatric Cancer Care in Charlotte and Beyond

Isabella Santos Foundation

Press Conference News coverage  |  Press Conference Video

Today we announced  the largest commitment we have ever made. We are a bit scared. Very emotional. The Isabella Santos Foundation commits  $5 million to establish The Isabella Santos Foundation Rare & Solid Tumor Program at Levine Children’s Hospital.  This program will oversee care for all solid tumors, rare tumors, MIBG therapy, and all related clinical and scientific research at LCH.  We are ready to take that next step by creating a rare and special pediatric cancer program that will be the first of its kind in the United States.

We might be scared. We might be emotional.  But we feel… Energized. Hopeful. Determined. Grateful.

Our partnership with LCH will allow us to continue the legacy Isabella left.  Isabella’s motto was: Beat. Grow. Live.  “Beat cancer, grow my hair, live my dreams.”  The foundation in her name dedicates itself to broadening that, so that other kids fighting cancer may Beat (the odds), Grow (awareness), and Live (without fear).

During the LCH press conference today for the partnership announcement, Erin Santos spoke about what this day means for her personally…

“First of all I just want to take a moment and thank the team of ISF that is with me today.  I always say after events like this to remember, every time you hear the word “Erin” it really means us.  I am nothing without all of you standing next to me and none of this would happen without the people here today.

October 6th, 2007 – this day has always meant something to me because it was the day my life changed forever.  My 2-year-old daughter was next to us in pigtails – wearing a pink t-shirt with a mermaid on it that we bought her at the Fort Fisher Aquarium that summer.  We weren’t sure what we were going to be told in that tiny room but in just moments we were introduced to a word we had never heard.  Neuroblastoma.  We were quickly taken to a waiting room in clinic that would become our home for 5 years and would soon meet our new oncology family, who I still see in the audience today.  

Sure, we may of known on that day that our life would change forever.  But what we didn’t know is that the little girl that just walked through their clinic doors would change their lives forever too.  The domino effect of that day is still falling.   

I look out into this sea of faces and I see lives that will never be the same because of her.  All of the people who were there from the beginning who made my cause, their cause.  I can see kids that like her will be walked into a clinic waiting room and will see and feel this domino effect of her life due to this gift and that gives me hope and inspires us to make this commitment.

For us to take on this huge milestone with Levine, it is more than just a check.  We are not famous or wealthy – we are just normal people who are doing amazing things.  The blood, sweat and tears that we will put into raising this money will keep us up at night.   But the faith that we have in Javier, Callie, all the doctors, nurses and administration keep us moving towards this goal because we believe in you.  I know this will be one of the best things you will ever do with your life, just like us.  We are in this together and we are beyond excited to watch this program grow into something that will receive nationwide attention and bring kids from all over the country to Charlotte to have the best chance of survival.  No pressure – but I know you feel the pressure.

So thank you for allowing us to be a part of the biggest thing to happen for kids with cancer in Charlotte region and beyond.  I can’t wait to see Isabella’s name on the center that brings new hope, treatments and cures to kids with rare pediatric cancers.  The only thing better would be to have here her alongside me, but in a way – I think we all know she is.”

With this $5 million 5-year initiative, we will be changing lives.  We will be the foundation of something special.  We will have the best pediatric cancer program, right here in Charlotte, North Carolina.  And we need your help.


Pediatric cancer care gets $5M boost from Isabella Santos Foundation, Charlotte Business Journal

A $5 Million Donation Honors One Life and Saves So Many More, Levine Children’s Hospital

ISF Commits $5 Million to Create Rare & Solid Tumor Program at Levine Children’s Hospital, Carolinas Healthcare Foundation

The Isabella Santos Foundation Commits $5 Million to Create Rare & Solid Tumor Program at Levine Children’s Hospital, PR Newswire

Sometimes an 8 year old can just put everything in to perspective

Written by Erin Santos, Isabella’s Mom
I knew that Jersey Mike’s Subs Day of Giving was going to be good, but today exceeded my expectations. I knew lunch would be crazy so I spent my lunch watching social media flood with everyone I knew getting lunch while I patiently gave platelets at the blood center. Also, because this was about Isabella, I wanted to take the kids for family dinner tonight. We ventured out to a new location for us on East Boulevard. When we walked it, I was so excited to see the team in their Cancer Messed With shirts. They of course greeted us when we walked in, not knowing the story that just walked through the door. The first teammate noticed my shirt (CMW the wrong family) and said, “Hey! Look at us in our matching shirts!”. I told her I loved not only the shirts but everything they were doing today in honor of my daughter. I was Isabella’s Mom. The assembly line stopped and I was created immediately with hugs. Sophia of course proudly announces that she is her sister too. The manager tells me how honored they are to be a part of the process and how he read a great interview that I did in Creative Loafing a few years back. It hooked him and and he has been following us every since. He was happy to be a part of the team that provided dinner for the Levine families earlier this month and proudly showed me the photo on the wall.
Sophia and I proceeded to eat together in a booth alone as I listened to her talk about her day, stopping every so often to hug me. Midway through our meal, a man and a woman came over and shook my hand. They just wanted to come over and meet us. Turns out their son Tristan, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma at just 5 months old. He has had 4 rounds of chemotherapy and 2 surgeries already in just 9 months of life. They had always heard of us and were so excited to meet us and thank us for all that we are doing. I told them they were in great hands at Levine Children’s Hospital and NB caught under the age 2 has a very good prognosis. We would love to help them with anything they need but by the look on his face I felt like maybe we were already doing enough. He jokingly said that this sub will taste a whole lot better now after this and loved that it was going to help kids like his. He shook my hand again and looked me hard in the face and said, “Thank you.”.
Only a couple kids in Charlotte with NB and we stumble across them randomly tonight. I try not to let these things screw with my mind – the whole coincidence of it all so I turn back to Sophia. She says, “Mommy there is good and bad about Isabella dying. Bad because she can’t sit here with us at this table, but good because we are helping that baby.” I get one last hug and she is back to her food. Sometimes an 8 year old can just put everything in to perspective.
-Erin, Isabella’s Mommy

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