July Executive Director Update: This is Just the Beginning!
July 4th seemed to pass us by quietly. Most all of us likely experienced a holiday with just a few close family and friends, or like me – maybe even watched the fireworks on TV for the first time ever. These are crazy times and like most of you, ISF is trying to navigate this new world. COVID has changed things for us for sure, but we find that even though it has limited us in some ways, it has opened the door for so many new and exciting things for us this summer.
Let’s start with the most important update. Dr. Giselle Sholler, your new Chair of the Isabella Santos Foundation Rare and Solid Tumor Program starts TODAY! Dr. Sholler will single-handedly take this program to the next level and this is all thanks to you! The funding you provided last year helped us secure this position and we can’t wait to introduce her to you. I get all giddy when I talk to her because her vision is exactly what we need here in Charlotte, as she brings top notch resources, ideas and science with her to Levine Children’s Hospital. She has already spoken to me about funding a trial for kids with Neuroblastoma and DIPG right here in our backyard, that we hope you will help us fund. That’s right – immediate trials to help kids, which is exactly what we are here to do. Stay tuned for more information in the next couple of weeks. Read Dr. Sholler’s thoughts on what she will be building here in Charlotte.
My other favorite thing to talk about is our internship program. Due to COVID-19, so many college and high school kids were left with cancelled summer programs. ISF quickly scooped up over 50 of them and my goodness…they are for sure leaving their mark. This 10 week program is only 3 weeks in and they have raised over $30,000 so far. It’s incredible! Each week we challenge them with friendly competitions, provide them with quality community speakers and give them real world tools and experiences, to help prepare them for life outside of their education. Their main goal is to help us turn our traditional race… “Virtual”, while also building excitement along the way. And honestly, they are also teaching our own team a thing or two, week after week. They are bringing in donations, race registrations, new followers, sponsors and even Three Wish Members in a time when charities are struggling to keep their doors open. Hopefully you have seen some of their content we have pushed out because it’s truly fantastic. We can’t wait to see how this whole project will end, but I guarantee this is something we will model year over year.
With all of the excitement floating around us, we are more determined than ever to make this year’s event a success, regardless of where we all will physically be, on Sept 26th.
Sadly, we have also decided to cancel our Annual Pumpkin Charity Ball this year as well. There are too many unknowns, so this Virtual Race is our one big event to allow you to show your support for these kids. We need you! I encourage everyone to get behind this year’s race because we “Can’t Stop” and we “Won’t Stop” for our families.
So many of you helped build this organization through our peer to peer fundraising and we need it more now than ever! Build a team, join our “Brunch Club” and fundraise for us this year. Doctors are coming to Charlotte, trials are awaiting funding and kids are being diagnosed every day. Kids from all over the world with rare cancers are now coming here because we are the best place for them. We can’t continue to do this, without you behind us and we are truly excited about the weeks and months to come. How often do you hear that these days?
Make a difference in a world that seems so negative right now. Do something positive. Join our fight. Take action now. It’s going to be amazing. 🙂
-Erin Santos, Isabella’s Mommy