Looking Back: 2nd Annual Isabella Santos Award

Caring. Compassionate. Leader. At the end of March we will be giving away the 5th Annual Isabella Santos Award.  Each year we recognize someone in the community who lives a life with the same dreams and aspirations as Isabella and who is trying to make a difference in the world.  Help us celebrate the past winners over the next week.

2nd Annual ISF Award, Corianne Blotevogel (2014)

2nd Annual ISF Award, Corianne Blotevogel (2013)

We are convinced if Isabella didn’t pass away from Neuroblastoma… she would have grown up to be just like Corianne.  We wish these two could have met, they would have been fast friends (especially through their love of all things animals!).  Corianne has been described as a superhero disguised as an angel and through personal hardships, physical hardships and loss, she has tremendous strength and an incredible positive attitude towards life. Her motto: “it’s not about forcing happiness, it’s about not letting the sadness win.”  Corianne is always looking for fun and creative ways to fundraise for various organizations and we are honored that ISF has been one of them. Some of the many groups that she has supported in addition to The Isabella Santos Foundation are Big Brothers and Big Sisters, The American Cancer Society, Community Blood Center of the Carolinas, Headbands of Hope, St Baldricks, Coltrane Life Center, JDRF, Second Harvest Food Bank, Locks of Love and countless other Random Acts of Kindness that play out in her life on a daily basis. Corianne is the real deal and wants to make a difference for those struggling to win life’s many battles. Isabella would have loved Corianne and the many things she does to inspire and help others.

She also has been fighting her own battle with an incurable disease.  In 2008, she’d been perfectly healthy, running regularly, when she began getting sick.  Over the course of a month, she went to urgent care four times, but was only treated for her symptoms.  On the last visit they told her to go to an Emergency Room.  She ended up being found, passed out in the hospital ER parking lot, by a police officer.  Many days after being admitted, she left with a diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes.  This is not the type of diabetes that is typically linked with being overweight and sedentary.  Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune condition, where the body no longer produces any or produces only very trace amounts of insulin.  It’s not yet known what causes this type of diabetes, but it’s most likely from genetics and/or a virus.  A virus is believed to have been the culprit for Corianne’s diagnosis.

Despite Corianne’s Type 1 Diabetes, she continues to push forward and train for races year after year.  In 2012, she completed a full marathon while raising funds for charity.  Since then she runs many distances and continues to train with the Isabella Santos Foundation Dream Team…. all in honor of Isabella and other kids fighting cancer.  This lady doesn’t stop.

In Corianne’s own words…  just a few of the reasons she fights so hard:

  • For Isabella and her wishes to beat cancer, grow hair and live her dreams.
  • For the girl selling chocolate bars from her hospital room to help pay for treatment.

    2nd Annual ISF Award, Corianne Blotevogel (2013)

  • For the strong girl who is now so fragile.
  • For the girl that can’t sit up or walk anymore.
  • For the girl I made smile so big, then closed the door and cried to myself.
  • For the boy who can’t see anymore.
  • For the kids stuck in sterile rooms this weekend.
  • For the kids whose hope is experimental possibility.
  • For the kids who eat their breakfast, lunch and dinner via a tube shoved up their nose.
  • For the little bald heads, hair lost little by little during the fight of their lives.
  • For the moms and dads spending days, weeks, months in the hospital begging their kids to endure just a little bit more or handle yet another procedure knowing there is now a chance they will outlive their child.
  • For the kids who went home this weekend after ringing the celebratory bell.
  • For the kids who went home with their families and the news that nothing more can be done.
  • For the kids that are now only case studies, memories, pictures on walls and names of organizations.

“Change is possible when we decide to stop just talking and start doing something about problems. Cancer is a problem. I ran today for ISF, with Isabella and the dozens of other names and faces from volunteering at the children’s hospital this year running through my head because this matters.  #nomorecancer #isabellasdreamteam #actioncreateshope”                – Corianne Blotevogel

2nd Annual ISF Award, Corianne Blotevogel (2013)

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