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The Faces of ISF…Meet Colleen Hinsberg

Getting to know youNames/ages of children: Julia (13) Meghan (10) Brittany (26)

Years married and to whom:  Tom Hinsberg (20 years)

Years in Charlotte:  16

Neighborhood: Tega Cay, SC

Hometown: Sarasota, FL

College Alumni: Florida State University

Occupation: Director of Sales- Contour Products

Years Involved with the Foundation: 9

What is your role with the Foundation: Race Director

How did your involvement with ISF begin? I worked with Stuart and Erin at Lendingtree and was with a close friend of theirs when they got the news that Isabella was sick. From that first day I felt inspired to help in any way that I could. Over the years I have taken on more responsibilities within the foundation and became Race Director 3 years ago.

What is your favorite story about Isabella? My favorite memory is from the 2011 race when we had some rain towards the end of the race. We were scrambling to get raffle items and food moved under the tent and the DJ was still playing music. Isabella stopped and started dancing and I looked around and a whole group of people there, stopped and danced with her. All of us- children and adults stopped our hustle bustle and danced in the rain. It was awesome.

What is one of your top ISF moments? On race day the year that Isabella passed away I was running around like a crazy woman. Someone grabbed me and said stop you HAVE to come see this. I walked over to the starting line to see 2000 people decked out in purple all the way down the street. It was overwhelming to see how we had grown. The emotion was so raw that year and that crowd was incredible to see. Each year now I MAKE myself take a moment to take all it in. From 175 people the first year to over 2500 participants last year. The community support is amazing.

Where do you see ISF in 5 years? I see ISF being very involved in a minimum of the 25 NMTRC cities raising funds and raising awareness as kids are continuing to win the battle against relapsing with Neuroblastoma

What is something you think ISF could improve on this year? I love that we are now sharing the immediate impact of how we are using the money that we raise. Knowing the number of children that we are impacting is such a great story! I look forward to many more of those kinds of stories this year.

How has ISF impacted your kids? This is where ISF has impacted my life the most. My kids have learned the generosity of people who are willing to donate to their races, bake sales and lemonade stands. They proudly support ISF and tell Isabella’s story as often as they can. They have a true sense of community and are willing to give their time and energy for a cause bigger than them.  The are more generous and more active because of their involvement with the Foundation. They are also my biggest cheerleaders when I am fully wrapped up during race time. Seeing Julia finish her first 5K at one of our races was a very proud moment. The fact that she is joining me this year as a part of the Dream Team is even better!

Who are your role models? I feel like we have all said this but I have to say my parents. They were happily married for 62 years, raised 5 girls and taught us all the value of family and friends. Through them, I learned to work hard, respect others and take time to play hard too.

What is something about you that would surprise people? I am the youngest of 5 girls and my sisters and I have 8 daughters between us. Not a boy in our family!

What is your biggest pet peeve? I have a really hard time interacting with passive aggressive people. If you have a problem, tell me what it is and let’s figure out how to solve it. I’m not good at trying to figure out what is upsetting you.

What is the hardest thing you have ever done? My parents passed away within 6 months of each other 2 years ago. It was huge and sad and putting one foot in front of each other was hard for a while. I knew I had get my act together and came out at the end, a stronger and happier person.

What do you love to do in Charlotte? We love to spend time on Lake Wylie.

What are a couple of your guilty pleasures? I love brownies. Even when I am training and “trying” to eat well I will say yes to a brownie almost every time.

Who is your celebrity crush? Matt Bomer. I “know” but he’s still adorable.
What is your favorite drink? I’m a beer girl

The Faces of ISF…Meet Rachel Wood

Screen Shot 2016-07-17 at 3.33.19 PM Names/ages of children: Asher (9), Haldo (20) and Conrad Jr (25)

Years married and to whom: Conrad- 12 years

Years in Charlotte: 14 yrs

Neighborhood: Piper Glen Area

Hometown: New Bern, NC
College Alumni: Meredith College, Raleigh NC

Occupation: For the past 10 years, I have shared a Marketing business with a childhood friend. We provide full circle marketing for several green building products as well as provide specific marketing needs to many other industries/markets. My love is graphic design and turning ideas/thoughts into a visual presentation.

Years Involved with the Foundation: 6 yrs

What is your role with the Foundation: Director of Marketing

How did your involvement with ISF begin? Our youngest son, Asher, was in preschool at Calvary with Isabella’s brother Grant. We became good friends with the Santos family during that year. As I got to know them better, I started helping out in marketing related activities for the foundation.

What is your favorite story about Isabella? We used to have playdates at our friend Karen’s house. One night, all of the kids wanted to have a dance party. We danced for hours with our kids singing at the top of our lungs… Miley Cyrus, Beyonce, Taylor Swift. All Isabella’s favorites…. she danced and danced and sung so loud. After that night she begged for dance parties. She was always dancing and singing. She was the best snuggler, would much rather be with 30-something old ladies than kids and had the best high pitch laugh. I miss that laugh- it truly was one of a kind.

What is one of your top ISF moments? Becoming part of Isabella’s Dream Team last year. Bringing a group of passionate people together for one cause is extremely powerful. Not only do you grow so many unexpected relationships, it is amazing how much good a group of people can do. If just feels right being part of something bigger than yourself. Even though I hate running! And in the process, Conrad and I ran our first half marathon! And we just started training again for our second half marathon.

Where do you see ISF in 5 years? I see ISF with a wider national presence raising funds for orphan cancers.

What is something you think ISF could improve on this year?  Telling our story better. ISF has accomplished so much in just a few short years. As a marketing team, we are working on telling those stories better and the impact… where exactly is all the money you donated going to, what clinical trials we are involved in and the story of those trials, ect. People want to know where their donations went and telling the impact story will hopefully help people continue donating year after year.

How has ISF impacted your kids?  Bringing awareness and raising funds for ISF has become a family effort. Our kids have always taken part in ISF events and been given specific volunteering duties.   I loved having my last parent/teacher conference and having the teachers ask more about ISF… because Asher talked so much about Isabella and raising funds. It is so important for kids to be aware of others around them that are in need. And it is so important that our kids grown up volunteering and giving to those around us.

Who are your role models?  My parents. From being married 45+ years and still being in love and good to one another, to doing so much for the people in their community and church, to loving my insta-family the very moment they stepped into my life, to supporting every ISF race we have put on, to being big kids at heart with all the grandchildren … my parents are the epitome of what parents should be. I can only hope that my kids, family, friends and community will think the same of Conrad and I one day.

What is something about you that would surprise people? I am deathly afraid of the dentist.

What is your biggest pet peeve? Popping/clicking your gum drives me up the wall. Keep your gum chewing to yourself please!


What is the hardest thing you have ever done? 
Becoming an insta-mom at age 24. My husband Conrad was a single father to 7 and 11 year old boys when we met. I instantly went from the single girl life to being a insta-mom to Haldo and Conrad Jr. Diving in head first was the best thing that ever happened to me.Rachel 3Rachel 2

What do you love to do in Charlotte? We love the Whitewater Center (even with it’s current troubles). I have a new found hobby of Paddle boarding and would be out there every day if I could. I love being out on the water. Most days you can find me working out at Orange Theory or Flywheel. My workout group is my backbone. They keep me sane, healthy and in-check. Love backyard cookouts with good friends/kids… and of course anything to do with the PANTHERS!!

What are a couple of your guilty pleasures? Binge watching netflix shows with my husband. Currently trying to get through House of Cards and it is madly obsessive. I am gluten free; but I crave donuts almost all the time. A good donut goes a really long way.

Who is your celebrity crush? Channing Tatum

What is your favorite drink? Wine

 

 

The Faces of ISF…Meet Stuart Santos

Screen Shot 2016-06-19 at 8.30.42 PMNames/ages of children: Grant 9 and Sophia 6

Years married and to whom: Married for 12 years to Erin Santos

Years in Charlotte: 17 years in Charlotte

Neighborhood: Marvin Creek

Hometown: Coral Springs, Florida

College Alumni: University of South Carolina

Occupation: Global Account Manager, ServiceSource

Years Involved with the Foundation: 9 yrs

What is your role with the Foundation? Chairman of the Board

How did your involvement with ISF begin? Co-Founder

What is your favorite story about Isabella? My favorite story about Isabella was from Christmas morning when she received Jake the Cat. Jake was in a huge box wrapped with kitty paper and when Jake heard her voice he peered out of the top and jumped right out when he saw her. Isabella carried Jake around the rest of the day like a little baby and dressed him up in her American Girl clothing. I still think this is why Jake is so loving.

What is one of your top ISF moments? One of my favorite moments is when we flew up to Grand Rapids this March and handed Dr. Sholler a check to fund her latest Neuroblastoma trial. It also happened to be on Isabella’s birthday. I knew there were families waiting to start the trial and to know the foundation would be responsible for helping them immediately.

Where do you see ISF in 5 years? In 5 years, I see the Isabella Santos Foundation putting on events across the country and funding more than $1 Million dollars of cancer research annually.

What is something you think ISF could improve on this year? I would like to see ISF develop a product that could be purchased no matter where you lived with the profits benefiting childhood cancer. I think there are people all over the country that would like to do more to support what we are doing but don’t have the ability to attend an actual event.

How has ISF impacted your kids? The foundation has impacted our family in so many different ways. It has given Grant and Sophia a lasting connection to Isabella, in the sense that she’s still alive and part of her family through her legacy and can live on forever for them.

Who are your role models? Outside of the obvious role which my mother and father have played in helping to guide my life, my Grandfather on my mom’s side and Grandmother on my dad’s side have always been huge role models for me. They overcame very hard times in their life with unbelievable perseverance and courage.

What is something about you that would surprise people? I think some people might be surprised to know I’m a bit of worrier. It’s something I try not to focus on but life has thrown me some curveballs.

What is your biggest pet peeve? When people are insensitive or sarcastic for the sake of a joke.

What is the hardest thing you have ever done? Saying goodbye to Isabella. (I’m still working Screen Shot 2016-06-19 at 8.30.57 PMon it)

What do you love to do in Charlotte? I really enjoy running through the different areas in Charlotte. The weather is so gorgeous almost year round so I really get to lose myself in scenery. I also think the Roasting Company on Montford or Del Friscos are my favorite places to eat.

What are a couple of your guilty pleasures? Ice Cream from Dairy Queen when I’m at the beach. I go every night when I’m there. I’m also a big fan of Charleston Chews.

Who is your celebrity crush? Eva Green (from the movie 300) & Blake Lively

What is your favorite drink? My favorite beer is a NODA CAVU.

The Faces of ISF … Meet “Coach” Tom Patania

The Faces of ISF … Meet “Coach” Tom Patania

Names/ages of dogs: Sydney (11), Bella (9), Lucky (3)

Years married and to whom: Going on 18 years with Lo Patania

Years in Charlotte: 11

Neighborhood: Glen Laurel, Indian Land, SC

Hometown: Utica, MI

College Alumni: Oakland Community College

Occupation: Credit Manager for ESP Associates, P.A.

Years Involved with the Foundation: 4 years

What is your role with the Foundation: Isabella’s Dream Team Coach, also help with social media and the marketing committee.

How did your involvement with ISF begin? In 2013, after a disheartening experience with one of the large cancer charities, I searched for a local charity that was making a difference in my community. I like to think that I didn’t find ISF, but that ISF found me. Once I watched the emotional 8 minute video on their website, I fell in love with this little girl whom I would never have the opportunity to meet. I reached out to ISF and set up a First Giving page with a very lofty goal (which was crushed thanks to very generous donors!). I first ran the RnR Savannah half marathon, as support to my wife who was also running it, and then the next weekend, I ran the Thunder Road half marathon (now named Charlotte Marathon). It was while I was running Thunder Road, that I hatched the plan to create a team to run this race the following year. Isabella’s Dream Team was born on the streets of Charlotte, NC.

What is your favorite story about Isabella? Unfortunately, I only have heard stories are the ones that have been shared by those that knew her. Seeing videos of her and hearing that sweet voice keeps me motivated. She is the absolute heart of our team.

What is one of your top ISF moments? Being the originator of Isabella’s Dream Team makes me incredibly proud. We start the season as individuals, but the miles we run in honor of Isabella and all the children currently fighting cancer binds us as a team. We become motivated to fight for our cause and draw inspiration from one another to achieve our goals. The distance doesn’t seem as daunting when you are running for a little girl whose dreams were cut 80 years short. To date, we’ve raised more than $150,000 and are just about to begin season three.

Where do you see ISF in 5 years? In one word: everywhere.

What is something you think ISF could improve on this year? The only thing that comes to mind is sharing how ISF is making impact, not only in our Charlotte community, but nationally. I think when people see good being done in their community, they want to become involved.

Who are your role models? My parents. I lost my dad when I was about to graduate from high school, but in our short time together he taught me the value of hard work (and elbow grease). I lost my mom to cancer five years ago, and she taught me how to be compassionate. I work to make them proud every day.

What is something about you that would surprise people? I used to be a (very mediocre) DJ back in the day with two turntables and a microphone.

What is your biggest pet peeve? One of my pet peeves is when people don’t go all the way down to the ground on a push up.

What is the hardest thing you have ever done? It has to be watching both of my parents battle illness. There is something so helpless about the whole process of dying and I cannot even begin to comprehend going through the death of a child.

What do you love to do in Charlotte? Run. Eat. Drink.

What are a couple of your guilty pleasures? Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream (with either the brownie batter or caramel core)

Who is your celebrity crush? Currently: Ellie Goulding

What is your favorite drink? Hell or High Watermelon by 21st Amendment (sorry local breweries, you all come in a close second)

The Faces Of ISF…Meet Andrea Isaac

The Faces Of ISF…Meet Andrea Isaac

Names/ages of children: Ryan (8) and Brandon (6)

Years married and to whom: Brett Isaac for 13 years

Years in Charlotte: 18 years

Neighborhood: Marvin Creek in Waxhaw, NC.

Hometown: Gaithersburg, Maryland

College Alumni: University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Occupation: Director of Strategic Partnerships with ISF

Years Involved with the Foundation: 3

What is your role with the Foundation: Director of Strategic Partnerships and Auction Director. I work to establish relationships with businesses in our community that want to support our mission either via sponsorship opportunities or auction item donations.

How did your involvement with ISF begin?  I started on the Silent Auction Committee, helping to obtain items to create our auction packages. I also volunteered whenever I could for various ISF events. I live across the street from the Santos family and what I witnessed in Isabella’s last few weeks was heart wrenching. My family and I knew we had to help and get involved in any way we could. Eventually, Erin came to me and asked me to come on board as the Director of the Auction, which then lead to Director of Strategic Partnerships. It has been an incredible life changing journey. Just another example of how Isabella has changed people’s lives for the better!

What is your favorite story about Isabella? I smile when I think about how she would dance and sing anytime, anywhere! She didn’t know a stranger either. She didn’t know me that well, but she was always very sweet and polite. She had an energy about her that I can’t put into words. She truly was a remarkable little girl! A week or so before she passed away, Erin and Stuart carried her over to our neighbors house to see a bunny that a sweet farmer had let them keep for a couple of weeks because he knew how much Isabella loved animals. Isabella couldn’t walk and could only really see out of one eye. She was skin and bones, so frail. All of the neighborhood kids were over to see the bunny as well. I was nervous that Ryan, my rambunctious 4 year old at the time, would knock Isabella over or be too rough. He shocked my husband and I with how gentle and caring he was. He helped her hold the bunny and spoke softly. It brought me to tears. Children truly know so much more than we give them credit for. The compassion he showed in that moment was something some adults could learn from. I will never forget that moment. That night, Brett and I cried in our bed thinking about the experience and realizing it was probably the last time we would see Isabella.

What is one of your top ISF moments? Honestly there are so many! One moment that will stay with me forever was after completing my first silent auction as Auction Director and realizing that we more than doubled our proceeds from the year before. It was such a proud moment for me. I then started to feel like I was truly making a difference in the fight against pediatric cancer and all the blood, sweat, and tears were more than worth it!

Our recent 1st Annual Coffee for a Cure was another top ISF moment in my mind. It was a huge success and we are still seeing the benefits of putting on this incredible event. Seeing the desire of others to help and get involved is so inspiring and it’s wonderful to see the good in people!

Another was running on the Dream Team and completing my first half marathon last year. I am NOT and NEVER was a runner. I actually despise running! I was convinced to give it a try and I stuck with it. Crossing the finish line last November was so fulfilling. I never even knew I would want to accomplish a goal like this, but when I did, it fulfilled something in my heart and mind. I can’t explain it but it was an ability incredible experience!

Ok, so that was 3…but trust me….I narrowed it down quite a bit. There are just so many wonderful moments with ISF…it was hard to pick just one!

Where do you see ISF in 5 years? I would love to see ISF have a national presence. We are doing everything now to lay the ground work for this goal and I truly believe nothing can stop this amazing team!

What is something you think ISF could improve on this year? Building a stronger employee & volunteer infrastructure so we are able to handle our incredible exponential growth over the past couple of years.

How has ISF impacted your kids? My boys have such generous hearts and I believe a huge reason is because they have grown up with ISF as a daily part of their lives. They have compassion for people that you can’t teach or force! I love that they see their father and I work so hard to support ISF and that we are making a difference. The feel that if they works hard enough they can make a difference too. I love that!  A cute example of their desire to help however they can is when Erin’s dog Baily passed away last year. The boys saw how sad they were and wanted to create BSF: Bailey Santos Foundation to help people who are sad when their pets die. My heart melted when they came to me with the idea…and I was laughing a little too! It was so sweet!

Who are your role models? My parents! They are 2 of the best people I know. They gave my sister and I a wonderful childhood and are an incredible support to us in adulthood. They are hardworking, generous, kind hearted, and responsible people! They have supported us though good times and bad, even times they didn’t agree with our choices. Their unconditional love has truly shaped my life. I hope that my children feel the same love from me that my parents made sure we felt and still feel! I couldn’t ask for a better parents or role models!

What is something about you that would surprise people? I have an almost debilitating fear of flying. Those who have flown with me know how rough it is! I have been known to have a panic attack or two and page the stewardess to have the pilot land the plane so I can get off ASAP. Unfortunately we were over the ocean at the time and that wasn’t happening. Given my history, I require a cocktail or 4 to get on a plane and possibly a Xanax thrown in for good measure. Pretty sure my husband has some battle scars from my death grip on his arm. My Aunt in Holland passed away from breast cancer and was always too afraid to fly so she missed out on so many wonderful things in the world and never got to come to America and visit her sister. I vowed to never let my fear hold me back…so bring on the cocktails!

What is your biggest pet peeve? When people don’t say thank you if you hold the door open for them or give you a wave if you let them in your lane when driving!!!

What is the hardest thing you have ever done? Losing my Grandmother. Her death was my first real experience losing a close loved one. We were very close and I cherish the time I had with her. I think about her every day in some small way. Miss her so much. Another was watching Isabella fight her cancer battle. She was such a bright light and seeing that light slowly dim and then go away was something I hope to never experience again.

What do you love to do in Charlotte? The weather in Charlotte is amazing! Taking our boys hiking is a favorite, or just spending time cooking out or taking the train uptown to spend the day.

What are a couple of your guilty pleasures? Oh my…there are too many to list but here is the short list: Squeeze Cheese, Salt and Vinegar Chips, Candy, Wine, the Walking Dead, The Real Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy (I think I may be the only person left who still watches), Naps, Tori Burch, Happy Hour Playdates!

Who is your celebrity crush? Ryan Reynolds

What is your favorite drink? Vodka with fresh Grapefruit! Yum!

The Faces of ISF… Meet Jeff Laughton

The Faces of ISF… Meet Jeff Laughton

Names/ages of children: Brady (9) & Avery (8)

Years married and to whom: Karen for 11 years 
Years in Charlotte: 10 1/2
Neighborhood: Marvin Creek
Hometown: McLean, VA
College Alumni: Ohio University
Occupation: Anti-Fraud Strategy Consultant for Wells Fargo
Years Involved with the Foundation: 4 years
What is your role with the Foundation: Board of Directors, Director of Corporate Sponsorships
How did your involvement with ISF begin? 4 years ago, Erin and Stuart created the ISF board. They asked me to be a board member as well as manage everything surrounding our Corporate Sponsorships. 
What is your favorite story about Isabella? In the early months of knowing the Santos’s and specifically Isabella, she randomly gave me a hug without saying anything or asking for anything – she just wanted to give me a hug. It was a very special moment for me. I also helped Stuart move her play house in the back yard so that it wasn’t directly in the sun anymore as it was too hot. As I was walking away she looked at me and said “Thank you Mr. Jeff” – those were the last words I ever heard her say.

What is one of your top ISF moments? There are so many to choose from, but one of my favorite moments is when we announced that we had achieved our goal and surpassed the $1MM in funds raised.

Where do you see ISF in 5 years? In 5 years, I believe ISF will be a nationally recognized pediatric cancer foundation that is known for funding successful and impactful research trials that are saving children’s lives.

What is something you think ISF could improve on this year? We need to focus on being more strategic and less tactical which includes establishing a detailed vision for the future of the foundation, setting goals, and adding more structure.

How has ISF impacted your kids? Because both my wife and I are involved in the foundation our kids constantly hear us talking about the foundation. We also attend a majority of the events and bring the kids with us. They have embraced the foundation and believe in what we are working towards. One of my favorite stories that shows the impact ISF has had on my kids is when my son Brady overheard the parents brainstorming how we can raise more money so that we can continue our mission to save children’s lives, and he went home, grabbed his piggy bank and tried to give it to Erin. He also offered to donate his beloved collection of Skylanders for our 5k raffle.

Who are your role models? My parents – I am who I am because of them. They were both absolutely amazing people and I’m extremely proud to be their son.
What is something about you that would surprise people? At the end of high school and early college I had long hair.
What is your biggest pet peeve? When people are pumping gas and after the tank is full they continue to repeatedly pull the handle so that it lands exactly on the dollar even though they are paying with credit card.

What is the hardest thing you have ever done? I just recently lost my father to cancer and watching him go through what he did to fight it was both inspiring and unbelievably difficult.

What do you love to do in Charlotte? I think the White Water Center is one of Charlotte’s best attractions. My family and I really enjoy going out there to spend time together relaxing by the water, eating lunch there, listening to music, or challenging ourselves by doing some of the activities.

What are a couple of your guilty pleasures? Anything related to Chocolate, but specifically Dark Chocolate, Magic Shell (goes on Ice Cream), and Ghiradelli Dark & Sea Salt Caramel Chocolate squares, Game of Thrones

Who is your celebrity crush? Kristen Bell

What is your favorite drink? Scotch