Fighting a Disease

Jackson, 2016 Charlotte Half Marathon

Written by Tammy Lowry, Jackson’s Mom
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At the age of 12, my son Jackson Lowry decided to join the Isabella Santos Foundation Dream Team.  The Dream Team trains together as a group to run a half marathon, supporting each other and raising funds for ISF and pediatric cancer.  November 2016 was his first half marathon, and he did a phenomenal job.  He politely reminds me every day that he beat me, and he is going to beat me again this year.  His motivation might be to beat his mother in a half marathon, but the biggest joy I embrace is how he is learning about fundraising and supporting our community when there are kids a little less fortunate.  But then something happens that reminds me – – he knows what that is like.  He knows how it is to fight a disease.  He has Type 1 Diabetes, and it haunts us when we least expect it.
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Last Saturday was a critical part of our half marathon training.  We were meeting for a group run that is 10 miles of the actual race course.  Unfortunately, Jackson had a cross country meet that morning with his middle school – so we both did not attend the group run.   Instead, we got up on Sunday and hit the streets at 7:45am to accomplish this run together.  There is a part of the half marathon course that is a huge hill on Providence Road.  Jackson and I both agreed that once we run that, we are golden.
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We start off with our run, and he is in high spirits.  He is directing me which route to go, which streets to run on.  He was so pumped.  We pull that hill on Providence Road and when we reached the top he started to slow down.  Now he fell behind me in pace.  We were only at 3 miles – – we had a long ways to go.  I kept looking back at him to see what was going on, and I looped back around.  His blood sugar dropped significantly and he was having a diabetic attack.  I pulled out a bag of energy beans because that is all I had on me at the time.  He ate the entire bag and felt better immediately.  But when you deal with blood sugar highs and lows – it affects your attitude, your mood, and your motivation.  He lost all motivation after his attack.
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As he looked at me completely wiped out, he told me to go ahead and run.  I was hesitant at first.  I ran ahead of him and I would circle back around to see how he was doing.  Then I finally kept on running but talked to him on the phone as I completed my 10 miles.  He walked it behind me, but he kept going.
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The entire time I thought – – what is he going to say to me when we meet back at my car?  Will he be defeated?  Will he be upset?  How do I handle this as his mom?  I certainly know that you have good runs and bad runs, but will he understand that?  He is only 13 years old.
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We get back to the car and he looks at me and says, “I will get it next time.”  Yes you will Jackson, yes you will.  This weekend, we have an 8 mile run, and I know he will do it.  His heart is full of motivation and he won’t quit.
– Tammy Lowry, Jackson’s Mom

Charlotte Community Fitness Classes Benefiting Childhood Cancer

During the month of September in honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, our Dream Team members partner with local Charlotte fitness studios in an effort to raise funds for pediatric cancer.  What better way to help fight childhood cancer while getting a great workout in!  Most classes will simply ask for a suggested monetary donation (in lieu of class fee).  See below offered classes, RSVP today, and support your community fitness studios:

ORANGETHEORY | OTF Ballantyne Fitness Class benefiting ISF

September 10, 2017 @ 1:00pm  |  More Info
OrangeTheory Ballantyne, 14825 Ballantyne Village Way (Ballantyne)

REVUP | Core Revolution Indoor Cycle Class benefiting ISF

September 13, 2017 @ 6:30pm  |  More Info
Core Revolution, 16721 Orchard Stone Run (South Charlotte)

VIBE5 | Yoga Class benefiting ISF

September 23, 2017 @ 2:00pm  |  More Info
VIBE5, 720 Governor Morrison St. (SouthPark)

ENLIGHTEN YOGA | Yoga Class benefiting ISF

October 1, 2017 @ 5:45pm
Enlighten Yoga,9852 Rea Road (Blakney)

ORANGETHEORY | OTF Arboretum Fitness Class benefiting ISF

October 15, 2017 @ 1:30pm
OrangeTheory Arboretum

Running To Zero

Isabella’s Dream Team week one is complete.  With our first group run behind us, one number gave us the inspiration needed behind every step, every bead of sweat and every sore muscle.  1843.  The number of missed kisses.  The number of missed goodnights.  The number of days since Isabella passed.    This season our team will run with an updated number on their arms every Saturday.  To remind us why we are running.  We run until that number is zero for parents of children fighting cancer.  It’s not to late to join.

Read the #Runningtozero blog below… written by Isabella’s Mommy around this time last year.  And why she started counting days.

 

#Runningtozero

Screen Shot 2016-07-31 at 5.28.01 PMI tossed and turned in bed. I knew my mind was racing. I had this feeling a lot back in the day and I know how to fix it. I had to write. I knew that if I did my mind would settle and I could sleep. But the “new” Erin convinced myself that my anxiety was due to the Dream Team 6 mile run at 6:30 am the next day. It was just nerves that I would oversleep or worse, not be able to do the run.

My mind and body tossed from 10:30 pm – 1:30 am.

I woke at 4:30 am and I knew it wasn’t running nerves. The day before while shopping I received a call from a new friend. Her Granddaughter just received results from recent scans and the neuroblastoma was aggressive, although I not sure aggressive accurately describes it. The neuroblastoma had become deadly. Palliative care options were given due to the rapid progression of the disease.

I tried to remain calm with the news because at this point in my life, I know that Doctors are really just guessing. You learn this when you too, have been given this option several times – yet your own daughter proves them wrong and makes a comeback. These Doctors are not God and you learn this the hard way. I gave the best advice I could give.

Tell the parents to read their daughter. If she wants to fight – then fight. If she is done, they will know and then the fight will be over.

We read Isabella each time we got devastating news. Doctors said she was done but her light showed “Green” so we fought. Sometimes it seemed “Yellow”, so we would cautiously continue. But when it turned “Red” for the first and only time – we stopped. She died quickly.

But I found myself Friday night at Nordstroms, crying. Sad and Angry.

It feels like we just made our decision. It was just yesterday right? I found myself at 4:30 am counting days.

1494Screen Shot 2016-07-31 at 5.40.54 PM

There is no way.

I began to freak out that another mother might soon be counting.

1 is the hardest number. But oddly 1494 still feels hard. When you see that number it may seem like a lifetime ago. But for me, it feels so recent. It’s 1494 missed kisses, missed goodnights, and missed smiles. I’m sure that number can be a hard motivator for some to take action. But to me, that number is as motivating as ever. Especially during these hot summer months when every number we see kills our motivation.

99 degrees, 100% humidity, 13.1 miles, 6:30 am, $500 fundraising goals. You may begin to wonder why you are doing this to yourself?

1494. That number motivates me because it’s an awful number. And next Saturday that number will be 1501. My number will continue to grow this season and I know that everything I’m doing, every time I ask for a donation, and every mile I run in this heat is so that someone like me will not have to write that number on their arm.

I will run and continue to ask until that number is zero.

#runningtozero

Isabella’s Mommy

It’s more than a running team…

We run and we fundraise. But we also make new friends, meet for socials, laugh and act silly. But there is nothing better than building relationships while making an impact in the community. Isabella’s Dream Team fundraises for childhood cancer research, but excited to add the following commitments as part of our giveback initiative:

2. Make dinner for families staying at Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte
3. Collect school supplies for Classroom Central
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WHAT’S THE FUNDRAISING COMMITMENT?

The fundraising component is minimal compared to the larger charities that ask you to cover the difference if you do not meet the minimum. We simply ask each participant to commit to fundraising at least $500, but our hope is that each person will fundraise much more than that. Don’t fret, we will help you along the way with fundraising ideas and examples.
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WHAT RACES ARE WE TRAINING FOR?

  1.  Isabella Santos Foundation 10K/5K for Kids Cancer (9/30)
  2.  Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah (11/4)
  3. Charlotte Marathon (11/11).
  • New this year:  Train with the team for the ISF 10K on Sept 30th.
  • RnR Savannah offers a half and full marathon, and a half marathon relay (6-7 miles per person).
  • Charlotte Marathon offers a half and full marathon, and a marathon relay (5 runners: 4-6 miles increments).
  • New this year: “One to run. One for fun.” challenge to run back to back half marathons in Savannah & Charlotte. $1,000 minimum fundraising commitment comes with swag bag filled with lots of goodies.
  • We’ve had teammates in the past run: Chicago Marathon, Marine Corps Marathon, New York City Marathon, and numerous others as part of our team. It’s your choice what race you’d like to do, and we could always adjust the training schedule to match your race.

WHAT WE PROVIDE?

  • Training schedules (10K, half, half marathon relay, marathon & marathon relay) – training starts the week of July 10th.
  • Team swag
  • Weekend long runs, weekday run options
  • Socials
  • Camaraderie
  • Motivation

HOW TO JOIN THE TEAM?

  • Email Coach Tom at tom@isabellasantosfoundation.org
  • Create your First Giving fundraising page: 2017 Isabella’s Dream Team
    • $500 commitment for 10K, half or full marathon.
    • $1,000 commitment for the “One to run. One for fun.” back-to-back challenge.
  • Register for your race and distance
  • Recruit your friends, family, coworkers to join via social media and let them know you just joined #isabellasdreamteam

Our goal this year: 200 participants raising $200,000. 

Learn more about Isabella’s Dream Team or contact Coach Tom with questions.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Over the past three seasons, Isabella’s Dream Team has been fortunate to have the support of our community. This year is no exception. Our team continues to grow and so does our community support.

Team Sponsor: OrthoCarolina

This is the second year that OrthoCarolina will be our sponsor and we can’t thank them enough for supporting our mission and help us grow in the Charlotte community. OrthoCarolina is one of the nation’s leading orthopedic practices and your destination for comprehensive orthopedic care.

Team Partners:

Omega Sports has been with us since the inception of this team, and has provided VIP treatment to us every year. We always look forward to our group runs with Omega Nation and we can’t thank them enough for their unwavering support. Best Service in Sports Since 1978.

Core Revolution is new this year and will be our cross-training headquarters. We are extremely excited to partner with them. Their South Charlotte location offers:

  • Cycle with smart software creating visual simulations and feedback throughout your ride
  • Rep N Ride is a circuit training class that builds strength and endurance as you rotate through eight stations during the 45-minute class
  • Barre Rev’d features dynamic resistance training designed to target specific muscle groups that will lengthen and strengthen core, legs, arms and glutes for a full body workout.
  • To check out their class schedule www.corerevclt.com. FIRST CLASS IS FREE.

The main thread that all three share is that they are all very eager to give back to our community. That’s why we are thrilled to have them on our team and excited to shine the spotlight on them, run with them and make them part of our training throughout the year.

What’s New in 2017?

New to our training schedule will be a training program for the Isabella Santos 10K (Sept 30th). If you’re not quite ready for a half marathon, this would be a great stepping stone. Fundraising Commitment Level: $500.00 minimum.

One to Run. One for Fun. This is a challenge to run the Rock N Roll Savannah Half Marathon Nov 5th and run the Charlotte Half Marathon Nov 11th. We’ve had several participants do this throughout the years, but this year we are adding additional swag and twice the fun. Fundraising Commitment Level: $1,000.00 minimum

Always an option:

As part of our giveback initiative, we are proud to announce that this year Isabella’s Dream Team will:

Our team has raised $314,165.00 over the past three years and if we hit our goal of $200,000 this year, that will mean over a half million dollars has been raised to help kids fighting cancer right now.

Want to join us? You can find out more information about us here: One Team. One Mission.

How to join the team?

  • Email Coach Tom at tom@isabellasantosfoundation.org
  • Create your First Giving fundraising page: 2017 Isabella’s Dream Team
    • $500 commitment (per person)
    • $1,000 commitment for the “One to run. One for fun.” back-to-back challenge.
  • Register for your race and distance
  • Recruit your friends, family, coworkers to join via social media and let them know you just joined #isabellasdreamteam

Training starts July 10th.

Are you in?

 

 

13.1 miles? With diabetes?

Written by Tammy and Jackson Lowry

I learned about the Isabella Santos Foundation about 3 years ago. Because I work in the media marketing industry, somehow the video we just watched landed in my lap. I hit play . . . and then I was ugly crying in my office at work, blowing through a box of Kleenex, and was very moved by the video and organization.

Next thing I knew, one of my very dear friends – Jaymie Nielsen – posted on FaceBook that even though she was not a runner, she was going to join Isabella’s Dream Team and train with a group of people to run a half marathon.

Upon inquiring about the Dream Team, I found out that an amazing person, Coach Tom, started the Dream Team and coaches everyone through the training. We all have a training schedule that we do on our own throughout the week. Then, we come together on Saturday mornings, run as a group and raise money along the way. So, I joined the summer of 2015.

The training starts in July, and we are all training for a half marathon that falls in November.  There are a few different regional races to choose from.  We were about 3 weeks away from the Charlotte Half Marathon, and life threw me a curve ball. My son, Jackson, was admitted to the hospital and was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. I thought – it’s just diabetes, right? Don’t you just take a pill and manage what you eat? It is going to be fine. But I clearly didn’t understand the diagnosis. I had to get up with him at midnight and 3am every night for the first few months in order to make sure his blood sugar didn’t go too high or too low. Otherwise, he would go in to a coma.

I was exhausted. I had to swallow my pride and email Coach Tom, Erin Santos and Jaymie Nielsen to tell them I just couldn’t run the race that year. I had no energy and Jackson needed me. Of course they understood.

Erin said she’d run for me – even though she’d already completed her own half marathon for the season. I thought YES – she is going to make me look GREAT. She is a great runner. She will get a much better time than I will. But in all honesty, I was just relieved someone could use the race bib.

The morning of the race, I saw a picture on FaceBook. Erin wrote on one arm “Isabella” and she wrote on the other arm “Jackson”. I started to cry. This race was not about Jackson. It was all about Isabella and helping find a cure for pediatric cancer.

This generous gesture was very touching to me. That was it. I am all in. I will do all that I can to help the Isabella Santos Foundation.

I wasn’t the only one who was all in . . . . Jackson was very moved and inspired. He asked me if he was old enough to run on the Dream Team. Even though he is diabetic, he still knew he could manage it and run for Isabella.

So our team welcomed Jackson at the age of 12 with open arms and we trained the summer of 2016. And after the first group run, he was hooked. He got it. And while I encouraged him at every run, the mom in me still had a nagging concern in the back of my mind – will he be able to run 13.1 miles? With diabetes?

The night before the race, Jackson and I were preparing for the race. We decided to agree upon some ground rules . . . .

Jackson:

-Stay together. If one of us needs to slow down, then tell the other and slow down.

-Run the entire time. Don’t stop.

-Get a drink of water at every water stop.

-Every 3 miles, eat some energy beans.

“My mom and I were doing great. I could tell she was struggling a little bit, but we followed all of our rules. When we hit the 10 mile mark of the race, I started to slowly pull away from her. I was excited and having a great time. I ended up sprinting the last 3 miles of the race, and I finished 13.1 miles in 2 hours and 9 minutes. It was the most amazing feeling to cross that finish line.”

I, on the other hand, had one of the worst races ever. I had a terrible cramp in my feet and toes. But I was determined to not stop and to follow our rules.

Even though I was in a lot of pain at the end of the race, we did it. It is one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had . . . and I got to do it with my son!

If you are a runner . . . . or want to be a runner . . . or want to be inspired . . . or simply volunteer or make a donation, I encourage you to do so with the Isabella Santos Foundation. You will not regret it. I promise.

When you are a parent and you watch your child be diagnosed with any illness or disease – – you do all that you can to fight and find a cure. The Isabella Santos Foundation does just that for all children with neuroblastoma and other rare pediatric cancers.

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