I remember sometime around a decade ago when I first came across Erin Santos’ blog. I’m not sure who shared it with me or how I came across it, but I was immediately enveloped by Erin’s raw writing style, confronting her child’s cancer diagnosis with honesty, fear, love and dark humor. I kept a picture of Erin’s daughter, Isabella, on my computer desktop back then as a reminder to check back in with the blog from time to time. The picture showed a 4-year-old Isabella in her family’s driveway with a pink flower dress on, her head bare save for a headband with a flower on it, if I’m remembering correctly. I remember every time I stared at that picture before going to the blog and I would think or say aloud, “Please don’t be dead.”
Until last Thursday, I had still never brought myself to read the post Erin wrote the day after Isabella lost her battle with cancer. Seven years later, it hits just as hard. I’m just as thankful for writing the post she shared on our website last Friday, on the seventh anniversary of Isabella’s passing, which of course uses Erin’s usual raw honesty to confront her feelings about moving on with her life and surpassing a dark milestone in which her daughter will have been gone for longer than she lived. While I know Erin will never forget Isabella, another thing that will never change as time passes is the life-saving impacts of The Isabella Santos Foundation (https://isabellasantosfoundation.org/ ), which Erin founded and has gone on to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for pediatric cancer research and recently funded a $1 million leading-edge rare pediatric cancer treatment room at Levine Children’s Hospital called the Isabella Santos Foundation MIBG Suite.
I’m not one to use this publication as a solicitation tool, but if you have money to spare, that’s one of the places I would suggest you put it. And the story below should give you a sense of why, because no parent should have to go through what Erin has gone through.
Queen City Nerve
Charlotte’s Cultural Pulse
ON THE SEVENTH YEAR SINCE THE DEATH OF MY DAUGHTER
June 28 marked the seventh anniversary of the death of Isabella Santos, whose mother, Erin Santos, founded the Isabella Santos Foundation. On that day, Erin shared three posts with us ranging from the day after Isabella passed to June 28, as she looked ahead at how to live in a world in which Isabella has been gone longer than she lived.