Meet Isabella Santos Foundation’s ChangeMakers

ChangeMaker: One who desires change in the world, and who makes that change happen.

During these last 28 days of 2019 we will be introducing you to some of those who help The Isabella Santos Foundation create positive change for pediatric cancer. So many are part of what makes ISF who we are and their visions for making a difference through donations, volunteering, fundraising, sponsorships and more, are inspiring.

Inspired by their actions? Donate and become a ChangeMaker today.

Meet ISF ChangeMaker, Jenn Jackson…

Have you ever experienced one of those moments when you just knew your life changed course?  Maybe in that moment, you couldn’t quite put your finger on it… but you just knew?

I attended an ISF coffee fundraiser and was stunned to hear the statistics about the lack of funding and research provided to children with rare pediatric cancer.   I was blown away by the courage and bravery of Erin Santos. Erin spoke on behalf of these children and for her own child which she lost when Isabella was only 7. Erin’s fearlessness and way with words moved me. She was gutsy. Unapologetic. 

I didn’t stop thinking about little Isabella, Erin or the foundation for days or weeks afterwards.  I was so moved and impressed by what I experienced it inspired me to want to do more. How could I do more?

I produce the Charlotte Auto Show and our team had been considering a revamp on our charity preview event.  Our goal was to bring more new attendees and women into the show. The concept hit me on my commute to work one day:  Handbags, Heels & Horsepower benefiting the Isabella Santos Foundation.   This has now become our signature charity preview event for the Charlotte Auto Show where 30 designer handbags and heels are placed up for raffle.  In the last two years, we’ve raised nearly $200,000 for the Isabella Santos Foundation.  

ISF is changing the trajectory of treatments and research for children diagnosed with rare pediatric cancer RIGHT HERE in our city.   ISF is breaking boundaries in non-profit relationships with healthcare. These are just a few reasons why I choose to make an impact alongside the foundation.  

I didn’t have the chance to meet or know Isabella, but I feel a sense of obligation for her and every child afflicted with this horrible diagnosis.  I know the women, families and organizations that stand behind ISF feel the same. 

“We’re blushing when we talk about this next ChangeMaker  – – and ya’ll know it takes a lot to make this group blush. Why? Because of all the charities in Charlotte she picked US.  Meet Jenn Jackson. She’s the Executive Director of the Charlotte Auto Show. Jenn created a special event to kick off the Charlotte Auto Show and decided it needed a some heart, a charity association to give back to our community.  Of all the organizations that do amazing things in Charlotte, Jenn chose The Isabella Santos Foundation. Last year, The Charlotte Auto Show’s donation was the final amount to push us over our final dollars for the MIBG room at Levine Children’s Hospital.  Jenn did that. Over the last two years, this dynamo of a lady has helped raise $200K for ISF. We like her because she’s fierce and fearless like us. And she’s not a part time fan of ISF. This woman ran in the ISF 5K and showed up at our Pumpkin Ball. She’s all in for us, more importantly, she’s all in for our ISF kiddos who are fighting for their lives.” -Sandra Szoke, ISF Board of Directors

Donate in honor of Jenn and what she is doing to help ISF create change for kids with pediatric cancer.  Be inspired by her actions.

Meet ISF ChangeMaker, Lisa Weaver…

My involvement in support of the Isabella Santos Foundation has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. My husband, Scott, and two girls, Samantha and Ava, are also very passionate about the foundation.  Scott recently completed his 40th platelet donation in honor of Isabella- which is outstanding! Both girls have loved participating year after year in the annual Race for Kids Cancer and have attended many special ISF events.  Samantha was thrilled to help to start an Isabella Santos Foundation Club at her High School this year. It has been wonderful to see the Club’s officers, Faculty Sponsor and members already very active in providing support to the Foundation.  Our family has also worked to connect local businesses that we admire to ISF with sponsorships at ISF events to not only provide a positive brand recognition opportunity to the business but also serve to raise funds for ISF and spread awareness of ISF’s mission to the business and their customers.   Over the past couple of years I have taken the lead role in organizing the Kids Zone at the annual Race in September. I have had the opportunity to meet some truly amazing and generous people in the community with vendors and organizations that come out year after year donating products, services and time to help to make race day a blast for the kids and families in attendance.    I joined Isabella’s Run Team in 2019 and can proudly say I can finally run a 5K! After always saying running was one thing I could not do, training in memory of Isabella, along with the guidance and support from the awesome coaches, gave me the purpose I needed.

Being involved reminds me of how they are fighting for all of our children, to change the outcome of this dreaded disease.  My support of ISF allows me to be a part of that. Together we can make a difference.

“Lisa is the type of supporter every organization dreams of having.  She is one of the kindest, most giving people I have ever met and she is one of the many great people who have come into my life from the loss of Isabella.  She and her husband Scott not only donate, but they invite their friends and family to do the same. She heads up our Kids Zone each year with flawless detail, helps secure auction items, brings new sponsors into ISF, volunteers and participates at our events, and I swear her entire wardrobe is ISF or Cancer Messed With.  She is a walking billboard for ISF. Her entire family is behind our mission and they all seem to do their part in different ways, so the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree here. I know she is cringing by us recognizing her because she never wants to be thanked, but we can’t help it. Seriously… if I could clone her I would. Can we all just be like Lisa?” -Erin, Isabella’s Mommy

Donate in honor of Lisa and what she is doing to help ISF create change for kids with pediatric cancer.  Be inspired by her actions.

MIBG Patient Receives Gifts By Isabella Santos Foundation MIBG Ambassador

Our team is so excited to share that another patient was recently treated in the Isabella Santos Foundation MIBG therapy room at Levine Children’s!

When a child begins MIBG treatment they receive a gift basket paid for by ISF MIBG Ambassador fundraising. This MIBG basket is thanks to Melissa Scanlon, a fellow cancer mom, and her sweet family. Melissa’s daughter, Gemma, was diagnosed with Wilms Tumor on her 3rd birthday in 2017.

Thanks to the Scanlon’s, we were able to provide a few comfort items, gift cards, snacks, toys, and more to make it feel a little more like home!

Levine Children’s Hospital is 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 provides targeted radiation to pediatric neuroblastoma patients with minimal side effects. This therapy impacts kids fighting cancer beyond the greater Charlotte region and will eventually expand to include adults with rare tumors.

Isabella Santos Foundation 2019 Pumpkin Charity Ball Raises $220,000 for Pediatric Cancer

Our 2nd Annual Pumpkin Charity Ball was a huge success! A special thank you to everyone who attended, sponsored, donated, and supported! It was an AMAZING night filled with great love, abundant generosity and true inspiration from so many in attendance. Through the support of all of our guests, auction bidders (near and far) and sponsors, we are thrilled to announce that the night raised close to $220,000!! We cannot thank each and every person who helped make this night the success that it was. We were especially honored to have some of our smallest warriors there to help us make an impact. We appreciate you sharing your personal stories, difficult struggles and your precious families with us, while we continue to fight the fight, together.

If you missed out on this year, don’t worry! Save the date for next year: October 24th, 2020. See you there

Neuroblastoma Patient Successfully Completes MIBG Therapy in Charlotte

Another patient was successfully treated in the Isabella Santos Foundation MIBG therapy room at Levine Children’s. As a child and family enter MIBG treatment they receive a gift basket specifically paid for by last year’s ISF MIBG Ambassador fundraising efforts. Patients stay in the MIBG room 3-7 days after they receive their injection with parents/caregivers in the adjoining room, so our hope is that these baskets help bring a little comfort in their time away from their own home.

If you look closely at the note, this MIBG basket is thanks to Tim McBride… also known as McBeast! Thanks to Tim and his supporters, we were able to provide a few comfort items, snacks, toys and gift cards for food, gas, coffee, and more. 

Levine Children’s Hospital is 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 provides targeted radiation to pediatric neuroblastoma patients with minimal side effects. This therapy impacts kids fighting cancer beyond the greater Charlotte region and will eventually expand to include adults with rare tumors.

2019 ISF Run & Brunch 5K for Kids Cancer Helps Bring in $230,000 for Pediatric Cancer

This year’s ISF 5K, 10K & Fun Run for Kids Cancer presented by Red Ventures was extra special with our yummy brunch provided by Firebirds Wood Fired GrillTito’s Handmade Vodka, and NoDa Brewing Company! A huge thank you to our brunch sponsors for cooking up the most delicious post-race meal. Keep a look-out for next year’s menu! During the month of September we were able to raise just over $230,000! We couldn’t have done it without YOU!

Thank you to the businesses that made this new feature possible and who give consistently give so much back to our community…

Firebirds Wood Fired Grill went over the top to make sure brunch was like no other brunch you have ever seen! Gourmet brunch actually! The thought and time their Chef and team put into this event was impressive. The food options were scrumptious! Thank you to their team and family who planned, cooked and served their hearts out! Make sure you stop into one of their several restaurants for lunch or dinner around town… and let them know how good brunch was when you do!

Is there such a thing as ‘Cool Bar Setup’? If so, Tito’s Handmade Vodkaran away with it for sure! Tito’s also presented us with a $10,000 check at the beginning of the race which was a dollar for dollar match through the annual 106.5 The End The Woody and Wilcox Show Purple Ticket fundraiser. Tito’s has been so good to us over the years and we couldn’t be more appreciative of their support and partnership. We all drink no other vodka brand now… and hope you think about how companies give back when you make purchases. 

It’s hard to express what the NoDa Brewing Company family means to our foundation. No matter what event we have, no matter what we are doing… they are right by our side supporting, giving our team words of encouragement and sending us notes of appreciation. NoDa not only brought out plenty of NoDa beer & spiked seltzer selections, but they brought out a huge group of their NoDa run crew. Having this family part of our special day gave us the chills. Thank you to every single member of the NoDa family for showing up big in Ballantyne. Next time you stop into the brewery, give them a thanks for all that they do!

The best part of this new brunch… we watched all our supporters run/walk together as friends and family. And then watched you all visit, laugh, hug and catch up over good food and drinks. That definatley was the icing on the donut! What a perfect day! 

Next fall will be here before you know it, so SAVE THE DATE! September 26, 2020