Here we are in a new year, a new decade! I have to say, our team at ISF is ready for a fresh start. 2019 brought so many ups and downs for us, by the time the ball was dropping, I was left feeling a little unsettled from the year we just completed. Each year we try so many different things to grab your attention. I made it a point to pull Isabella back a little and have us introduce you to what was going on in your backyard. Our Mother’s Day series was our first attempt to really get to know the families at Levine and I was reminded of what a difficult job these Moms (and Dads) have on a daily basis. From this series, new friendships were developed and bonds were formed, as our staff became regulars in the hospital.
September rolled around and I couldn’t be more proud of what we accomplished for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. I have to say, hands down – the “Through My Eyes Series” that our beloved Rachel Wood took the lead on, changed many of you forever. Our team too. I’m not quite sure she realized what she was taking on, as so many families were eager to tell their stories about what their world looks like as they fight for their lives. The response was overwhelming, as each post affected people differently. We showed you different cancers, different ages, different prognosis and in the end… different outcomes. It has become a series we will do each year because it changed the way we do everything here at ISF.
To complete the month, we changed the look and feel of Isabella’s race in its 12th year, thanks to the help of Firebirds, Tito’s Vodka and Noda Brewing Company. The addition of the brunch component was a homerun for all attendees. I can’t tell you how exhilarating it was to hear all of the feedback from the participants. A new buzz and excitement were present for the first time in a number of years and it could be felt by everyone! The race was the perfect bow tied onto the month that we all worked so hard to complete. We continued to roll into the end of the year with another successful Pumpkin Charity Ball, raising more than ever from both events.
However, with the good… can oftentimes come with the bad. And our last quarter at ISF shook us to the core. Three big losses in two months. We attended too many funerals. It felt so unfair to watch Rachel devote her life to finding a cure for cancer, only to lose her Mother suddenly to Ovarian Cancer in November. A Couple of our “Through My Eyes” campaign families, also took turns for the worse. Our Ewing’s Sarcoma warrior, Corey lost his battle with cancer in November and our sweet, cherished Osteosarcoma warrior, Madison lost her battle a couple days before Christmas. These losses left our team stunned, wondering if what we were doing was all for nothing, if we couldn’t save these kids. I have to say, we pondered some big questions on the state of ISF after these monumental deaths.
So, for 2020 – things are changing. And they are changing in a big way. Our 4th quarter donation tributes were at an all-time high and we realized that people want to kick cancer in the ass. We are furious at this disease and find ourselves more determined than ever. We can’t let up, not even for a day. If anything, we need to remain more focused than ever. For this reason, we are implementing a new mission that we hope will change outcomes forever. It may have started with Isabella and our mission with Neuroblastoma, but now we have more children and more diseases to take on and we are ready. We have selected national tribute grants in the specialties of Ewing’s Sarcoma and Osteosarcoma in honor of Madison and Corey, that we will focus our efforts on in the beginning of 2020. These initiatives will help kids nationwide and we won’t stop until we fulfill them. We will also be taking on specific efforts in the field of Rhabdomyosarcoma for our little warrior Merritt, as well as keeping a continued focus on Neuroblastoma for little Brinn, Max and of course in memory of Isabella.
We are going to allow each donation to be focused on what speaks to you, whether it be a specific child, diagnosis, or area of treatment. Our continued partnership with Levine is progressing with the Rare and Solid Tumor Program, as we anticipate new details to share with you all. Our look, our feel, our events, our staff and the families– you will see it all change and grow in 2020. We are all grown up and ready to kick cancer in the ass this year. Needless to say, I think you may want to be around for this ride – because it’s going to be our biggest impact year to date. Stay tuned… we have lots to share in the coming months!
-Erin Santos, Isabella’s Mommy
2020 ISF INTENTIONS…
As you plan for 2020 we hope you include ISF as you set your intentions. There are so many ways to give back and get involved to make a difference for kids fighting cancer. We have so many good things happening and we can’t wait to share, but until then we wanted to share a few intentions at the top of our lists.
Set It & Forget It!: Know you are supporting our mission regularly by signing up for monthly or quarterly giving. Our recurring gift option lets you set your donation amount once… and forget it!
Facebook Fundraiser: Facebook makes it ridiculously easy to fundraise for the cause of your choice to help create change. We invite you to commit to creating a fundraiser for ISF to help impact pediatric cancer. Pick a day to celebrate a cause!
3 Wish Society: The 3 Wish Society is comprised of dynamic, committed and passionate donors who have the influence and resources to significantly impact the efforts of ISF. Donors receive invitations to mission related and VIP social events throughout the year, seats at the annual Pumpkin Ball in late October, receive special recognition via website, social media and at every ISF event.
Ambassador: It’s simple… sign up, set up your own fundraising page/goal and tune into ISF social media channels for messages to share. ISF staff will provide support every step of the way including an invitation to a kick-off event, tool kit with everything that you need to be successful, gifts along the way as milestones are met and so much more. Engage your family, friends and entire network to raise funds for our vital mission. Be sure to learn more about our partnership with our Ambassador program sponsor, OneBlood, and learn how donating blood and encouraging others to donate can raise funds in this fight.:
Volunteer: Feel good for doing good. We have so many fantastic and loyal volunteers, our foundation could not function without each and every one. Set your intention to volunteer this year by signing up for our ISF Volunteer List.
Sponsor & Partner: Join us as a Sponsor or Community Partner to make an impact in 2020. It is a great opportunity to increase brand awareness and engage with people in the community all while providing a significant impact on pediatric cancer.
THANK YOU to the following businesses who have committed to be ISF Sustaining Sponsors for 2020: Jersey Mike’s, NoDa Brewing Company, OneBlood, Scoop Charlotte. And to all of our wonderful 2019 sponsors and community partners, we hope you will continue to make an impact with us in 2020.