Isabella Would Have Been 14

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Written by Erin Santos, ISF Executive Director & President

6 years ago you couldn’t pay me to sit and have coffee with a little girl who beat cancer and was also Isabella’s age.  No Thank You!  But time has passed and now I find myself being eager to be in the presence of 13 and 14-year-old girls.  I’m constantly wondering what they are into, how they behave and what they say.  So when I got the opportunity to meet Sydney, who beat cancer last year I was excited about our meet and greet.  Side note, we also helped fund her Make-A-Wish trip to go to London for the ultimate Harry Potter experience.  Another side note, Sidney’s sister was in Grant’s preschool class at Calvary when Isabella was diagnosed and fighting.  We had no clue at the time of raising funds for her trip that it was for a girl who we once had this connection with. Full circle.

This girl was precious… like beyond precious.  She was beautiful and mature and wise beyond her years.  I find these are all traits of a child who has stared death in the eye more than once.  I couldn’t stop listening to her talk and was consumed with the fact that she let her mom dote on her and play with her hair while she talked to us.  Any other teen would have swatted her Mom’s hand away.  But I feel like Sydney allowed it because she knew her Mom too went through something and knows she is lucky to be alive.  

I loved listening to her talk about the doctors and procedures and how it really felt to go through all her treatment.  And then I asked the question, “So what do you want to be when you grow up?”  Such an innocent question but as she answered, I felt a lump in my throat and the tears beginning to swell.  So jealous that she can answer this question and how I craved being able to ask it of my own daughter.   No matter how much I try to hide the pain, this family knows that no longer how much time has passed or how good I say I’m doing now – they really are the lucky ones.  They are in fact sitting with a Mom who should have a daughter sitting along with us.  Who knows, they could have even been friends.

Sydney immediately came to my side and put her arms around me and started to cry.  It was so touching to me.  I don’t know if she was crying because she was sad for me or sad for Isabella or wondering how she survived and Isabella didn’t.  It could have been a number of things but I have to say that it has been years since someone touched me in that way.  The hug lasted a long time.  For those of you who know me – that means it was over 5 seconds.  But his hug lasted for minutes.  I tried to release her but she wouldn’t let go.  It was if she knew I needed it.  She was right.

I don’t know what Sydney’s life has ahead for her, but I know it’s going to be amazing.  I’m excited to sit back and watch because this girl deserves every single minute of it and I know she will live it not only for her and her family but for some of those who didn’t get the chance to live it and I love that.  It makes me think that while some weren’t meant to survive, she is one that was meant to live.   Isabella’s birthday is in March. We can’t think of a better gift than to honor another child’s wish in honor of Isabella’s life. 

It is our goal to raise $6,000 in 14 days for what would have been Isabella’s 14th birthday.  14 years old… just like Sydney. Last year, you helped us make Sydney’s wish to visit the Harry Potter museum in London come true.  Sidney has finished treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and recently ‘Rang the Bell’ in December 2018 at Levine Children’s Hospital signifying the beginning of living life cancer free.

Make-A-Wish granted Isabella her wish and gave her the best days of her life.  Make-A-Wish also gave her family the best memories of theirs.  The positive impact wishes give to kids and their families are invaluable.  Sydney and her family experienced the same.

We hope you will help us pass this on yet again. Please donate to help another child’s wish come true.  Donations of all values will help us collectively reach the $6,000 fundraising goal and will be gifted to the Make-A-Wish foundation to go towards a child’s wish.    

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Click Donate Now Button to Participate in Isabella’s Wish Campaign

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Isabella’s Birthday Wish Fundraiser

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Isabella’s birthday is in March. We can’t think of a better gift than to honor another child’s wish in honor of Isabella’s life.  It is our goal to raise $6,000 in 14 days for what would have been Isabella’s 14th birthday.

Last year, you helped us make Sydney’s wish to visit the Harry Potter museum in London come true.  Sydney is currently 14 years old, finished treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and recently ‘Rang the Bell’ in December 2018 at Levine Children’s Hospital signifying the beginning of living life cancer free. Isabella’s mom, Erin, recently sat down with Sydney to hear all about her trip.

Make-A-Wish granted Isabella her wish and gave her the best days of her life.  Make-A-Wish also gave her family the best memories of theirs.  The positive impact wishes give to kids and their families are invaluable.  Sydney and her family experienced the same. We hope you will help us pass this on yet again.

Please donate to help another child’s wish come true.  Donations of all values will help us collectively reach the $6,000 fundraising goal and will be gifted to the Make-A-Wish foundation to go towards a child’s wish.   

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Click Donate Now Button to Participate in Isabella’s Wish Campaign

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5 Ways You Can Support Charlotte Nonprofits

Are you looking for ways to support local nonprofits? ShareCharlotte.com is a great resource that identifies 428 nonprofit organizations in the Charlotte area and helps you identify the organizations doing work that is closest to your heart.
 

  1. Attending Fundraising Events For Nonprofit Organizations
    Most nonprofit organizations rely upon the generosity of donors for some or all of their funding. Fundraising is an activity of major importance to the charitable nonprofit community. Nonprofit organizations in Charlotte are no different and are constantly looking for ways to maximize their fundraising.

    Two examples of local fundraising for our company are The Isabella Santos Foundation Coffee for a Cure and the All in For Cancer events. You can reference Isabella Santos Foundation nonprofit events calendar.
  2. Donate To Your Favorite Charity
    There are numerous ways to make a donation to your favorite charity. Your donation can be made at whichever price point you feel comfortable with and can be packaged according to your preferences and convenience. Use your checkbook or donate online, donate your car or food for an event, arrange for planned giving, or give your time. The Isabella Santos Foundation Ambassador program encourages you to get your team of people working together collectively, as a group, to raise funds together. Or, if you are interested in taking support to the next level by making an annual gift of $5,000 or more, ISF’s Three Wish Circle is the place for you. Many organizations, including the Isabella Santos Foundation, are 501c3 nonprofits so your donations are tax deductible.
  3. Non Profit Volunteering
    Non profits are always needing volunteers. Having extra sets of hands on any given day is extremely helpful. Here are just a few examples of volunteer opportunities.

    • Conduct research
    • Collect data
    • Answer the phone
    • Assist in event planning
    • Be a mentor
    • Serve as a foster home for a furry friend in need
    • Tend to a garden
    • Become a youth sports coach
    • Help families move out of homeless shelters into stable homes


    At ISF, we have a variety of events and volunteer opportunities throughout the year.  Join our ISF Volunteer Group on Facebook to stay updated on Volunteer opportunities.

  4.  

  5. Non Profit Sponsorship
    Create awareness of your corporate identity while strengthening your corporate image to your current stakeholders by sponsoring a non profit. Garner, develop, and cultivate a new and existing audience of customers. Examples of ways to sponsor:

    • Sponsor an ISF Event
    • Donate Auction Items
    • Host an ‘ISF Day’ With a % Give Back
    • Make a Donation & Company Matching
    • Donate In-Kind Items for ISF Events
    • Sign Your Team Up to Volunteer With ISF
    • Register Your Team for ISF’s Annual 5K/10K

     

  6.  Social Media for Nonprofits 

    Sharing messages over the internet is almost mandatory in today’s world, especially for nonprofits. Social Media is typically the best way to communicate with nonprofits since both a new and existing audience of customers can be easily reached when messages are shared digitally. Facebook groups, in particular, have been shown to be popular amongst many nonprofits. Websites, emails, and performing google searches are also examples of how to gather information on contributing towards your favorite nonprofit.

    The Isabella Santos Foundation has a social media following of over 15,000 people and looks forward to gaining more and educating the community on what the foundation stands for. Follow us to stay up to date with what we’re doing!

    Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

MIBG Construction Update #3, Levine Children’s Hospital

Holy cow what a cool morning. Earlier today our team visited the ISF MIBG construction site at Levine Children’s. To set foot into the pediatric cancer therapy site that your dollars support is surreal!

In the pictures you will see a couple of things. The space on the right will be the patient room, the space on the left will be the parent/guardian room… in between you will notice a large steel door frame where the lead lined door will be placed. The huge structural steel beams have been set underneath the floors and on the ceiling… these are required to hold the weight of the lead bricks that are encompassing the room to protect and manage the MIBG Therapy safely for both patients, family and staff. Lead bricks have been installed partially on one wall. (Insider scoop: the construction team may or may not have broken two elevators getting them up to the 11th floor. That’s how heavy the lead bricks are.)

It was impressive to learn that the lead lined doors and windows will be thicker than any other MIBG Therapy room doors/windows in the country which will provide the best radiation protection during this cancer therapy. Looking forward to sharing these pictures.

The LCH team is getting ready prepping. Nurse Dawn, MIBG Therapy Program Director, has been super busy creating program materials, administering the core nursing education, and have learned from support staff such as radiation safety, child life specialists and bone marrow transplant coordinators. The MIBG nursing team has had a conference call with Nationwide Children’s Hospital where they were given the opportunity to ask experienced MIBG nurses what they have learned, what they would change, their fears, ect. That’s pretty cool.

We are looking for individuals who want to be part of providing comfortable care for the kids/families that go through MIBG Treatment. Our new 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}

 

 

 

 

 

ISF MIBG Ambassador: Cynthia & Kat Wood

GOAL: Run 50K in 1 year to raise $5K for ISF. Say what??
 
This will be Cynthia’s 4th year fundraising for ISF and she has enlisted a special partner in crime. Cynthia decided to sign up as a MIBG Ambassador and think outside the box for her fundraising. Cynthia and her daughter, Kat, are committing to rack up 50K in runs to raise $5,000 within a year of this coming Thursday (June 28th)… the anniversary of Isabella’s passing.
 
Fundraising year after year gets hard, no matter who you are! Not only do we love that Cynthia’s daughter is getting involved (kids helping kids make our hearts melt), but that they are doing something different and new. Thank you Cynthia and Kat for your dedication in honor of Isabella. We can’t express how grateful we are!
 
Learn more about what it means to become an MIBG Ambassador.  Funds raised through this program will be distributed very specifically through our partnership with Levine Children’s Hospital with a very targeted purpose. So get creative and fundraise the way you want to.