Erin Santos, 2018 Humanitarian of the Year

Charlotte, N.C. – More than 400 Realtors® gathered Friday, Dec. 14, 2018, at the Crowne Plaza Charlotte Executive Park for the Charlotte Regional Realtor® Association/Carolina Multiple Listing Services, Inc. (CarolinaMLS) 2018 Holiday Awards Luncheon & Annual Meeting.  Members paid tribute to outstanding real estate industry leaders and association volunteers, as well as recognized the 2018 Housing Opportunity Foundation Humanitarian of the Year Erin Santos, founder of the Isabella Santos Foundation.

Erin and Stuart Santos established the Isabella Santos Foundation to raise awareness and funding for research and a cure to neuroblastoma, a rare and aggressive form of childhood cancer that ended the young life of their daughter, Isabella. During Isabella’s five-year fight against neuroblastoma, she received much of her care at Levine Children’s Hospital.  However, a number of the clinical trials and advanced treatments she required necessitated travel to larger children’s hospitals in other parts of the country.

While the Santos family had the option of seeking treatment elsewhere, they understood that there are many families who cannot travel. Children with rare forms of cancer and their families need a tremendous amount of support to stay in the fight.  But sadly, a critical lack of funding to research and treat these cancers is often not available locally, which is why the Isabella Santos Foundation was formed. As stated in her nomination, Erin Santos wanted to do something that would permanently transform pediatric oncology in our local community, and therefore the foundation grew.

Because of Erin’s vision and drive, the Levine Children’s Hospital and the Isabella Santos Foundation have partnered together to launch the Isabella Santos Foundation Rare & Solid Tumor Program with the goal of offering the most effective and comprehensive treatment available for rare cancers.

  • This life-saving program is the first of its kind in the nation.
  • The program will treat approximately one-third of the 135 new cancer patients at Levine Children’s Hospital who are treated each year.
  • A vital component of the program is MIBG Therapy, a targeted radiation treatment with minimal side effects.
  • Under the unwavering dedication and inspirational leadership of Erin, the foundation has concluded its $1 million MIBG building campaign.  The MIBG suite construction has been completed and is slated to begin serving its first patient by the end of the year.
  • Levine Children’s Hospital will now be one of only 20 hospitals in the country to have an MIBG treatment room.

For nearly 10 years, the Isabella Santos Foundation has been a driving force in increasing awareness and has donated over $2.5 million in funding.  Under Erin’s guidance and direction, the foundation hosts several special events throughout the year. Most notable among these is Jersey Mike’s Day of Giving, which involved 31 Charlotte-area stores giving 100 percent of proceeds from the day to the foundation.

“Erin has taken the unimaginable pain from the loss of a child and created something remarkable!  She truly embodies the spirit of this award,” said Association/CarolinaMLS President Jason Gentry. “The Isabella Santos Foundation’s contributions to our local community have made a tremendous impact in an effort to ensure that other families now and in the future don’t have to endure the same type of loss. Her unwavering commitment should serve as an inspiration for us all to do more to effect change.”

As the Housing Opportunity Foundation’s Humanitarian Award winner, Erin Santos received a commemorative crystal award and the ability to designate a charity of her choice to receive $5,000 from the foundation. The Isabella Santos Foundation will be the recipient.

About the Housing Opportunity Foundation
The Housing Opportunity Foundation is the charitable arm of the Charlotte Regional Realtor® Association.  The foundation works to create a community where all housing needs are met, and its mission is for Realtors® to create housing opportunities through advocacy, education, funding and leadership.

For more information, about the Association or the Foundation visit www.CarolinaHome.com. For interviews, please contact Kim Walker.

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