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.