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Let’s Become a WishMaker Together in Honor of Isabella

Make-A-Wish granted Isabella her wish and gave her the best days of her life.  Make-A-Wish also gave her family the best memories of theirs.  The positive impact wishes give to kids and their families are invaluable.  

There is a girl fighting cancer, Sydney, who is 13 years old and wishes to visit the Harry Potter museum in London. We can’t think of a better gift than to honor another girl’s wish on what would have been Isabella’s 13th birthday in the month of March.

Please donate to help make Sydney’s wish come true.  Donations of all values will help us collectively reach the $6,000 fundraising goal by March 31.

DONATE HERE

Throughout the month, we will be sharing more about Sydney and memories of Isabella’s wish.  We hope you will follow along on our social media pages:  Facebook, Instagram, Twitter

Make-A-Wish creates life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses.  Isabella’s mom shares the difference Make-A-Wish made in not only Isabella, but the entire family.  

“We even decided to take her there just a couple of weeks before she passed away. Make-A-Wish has made this place the one place in the world that brought her the most happiness. We saw the impact that a wish trip had on her mental and physical state, as well as the rest of us. It made miracles happen for us – so many times.” -Isabella’s Mom

Read more from Erin Santos,  It Made Miracles Happen For Us  

Celebrating 10 years: She should have been a best friend

Isabella Santos is a name that many people recognize in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. She has become synonymous with Neuroblastoma and other orphan cancers. Her parents started the Isabella Santos Foundation as a way of keeping her memory alive and help reach her wish of  ‘No More Cancer’.  As we celebrate 10 years of the foundation we thought it fitting to share with you the impact Isabella and ISF has made on the people who are a part of and support our growing organization. 

Children who are diagnosed with cancer are the smallest fighters, but they do not fight alone. Fighting alongside these tiny victims are the parents, siblings, relatives, neighbors, extended family, and friends. They are silent gladiators and resilient people who walk alongside these children and their immediate families. When a child is lost from cancer those supporters become the unseen victims and lose something, as well…. they lose what should have been.  It is these supporters we celebrate for helping us grow.

She should have been a best friend.

“It’s hard to forget someone who gave you so much to remember.” Unknown

Today we introduce you to Stephanie Foreman or Miss Stephanie, as Isabella called her. Her daughter Solei was Isabella’s best friend.

So many amazing people are associated with The Isabella Santos Foundation. Some of these people have been there from the very beginning and others have been called to action once they met or learned about Isabella.

Isabella and Soleil

Tell us about your connection to The Isabella Santos Foundation and how long you’ve known the Santos family?

My connection with the Isabella Santos Foundation is very connected as our daughters met their first year at preschool in the “two’s” and became best friends right from the jump. We are talking roughly a decade ago.

Families faced with a seriously sick child meet the challenge in so many different ways. Erin and Stuart chose to not only fight for Isabella, but to create a foundation in her name that would bring awareness to Neuroblastoma and work to find a cure for all children.

When you first heard about Erin and Stuart’s idea for a Foundation what were your thoughts? 

My first thought was it was a must. Having your child diagnosed with such a vicious cancer, the only way to go was to raise awareness and immediately bring attention and funding to this horrible nightmare they were facing.

Are you a part of the Isabella Santos Foundation today? If so, in what way are you involved? If not, what took you away from it?

As a single parent of two my schedule is pretty complex, but each year at the ISF 5K Soleil, Ciel and myself volunteer and try to help out where we can. I give blood when possible and definitely spread the word to others who know us, Isabella and her story.

I will say I am beyond proud of Erin, Stuart and the whole ISF team and I have watched this foundation grow from zero to the now magnitude of this foundation. Its truly incredible what they have accomplished. Wow.

Moments we have with our best friends stay with us forever.  We can recall the sleepovers and nighttime whispers in the dark, as not to wake up mom and dad. These first friends inexplicably shape who we become. They never leave your memory no matter how far away you wind up living or how out of touch you become as the years fly by. Isabella made a lasting impression on so many people. Not only the people who knew her personally, but on countless strangers and readers of Erin’s Caring Bridge posts.

Isabella and Soleil

Can you share your fondest memories of her? 

That question is a little hard to answer as I have many. Isabella’s laugh was infectious. Memories of the sleepovers and hearing IB and Soleil giggling upstairs in their princess dresses. The CD player always on in the playroom and they would have little dance parties and act out their favorite disney movies at the time. Sitting around my kitchen table and IB always making it very clear on her likes and dislikes of vegetables, as I would try and convince her otherwise…never worked lol. Our trips to Oak Island and just swinging on the porch swing with her and watching IB and Soleil in the ocean on the boogie boards. Out of all the memories what sticks with me the most was our “secret handshake”. We had made this up very early on and whenever we would see each other, IB would always grab my hand for our “secret handshake” and we’d wink at one another. Isabella made sure to let me know not to disclose this handshake to anyone. It was a secret, it was ours, and always will be.

How has Isabella impacted your life?

In more ways than I can even explain. The biggest impacts of all are strength, the courage to keep going , and faith. To this day I am still in awe at Isabella’s strength and will. What I witnessed, the horrible treatments, medicines, side effects, scans, changes to her body, losing all hair and so much more…and regardless…she kept going and going. Her courage was beyond what I knew courage to be. Different hospitals, cities, treatments, doctors, different environments and through all of that, she had to courage to keep going. I had faith before her passing but after that day of June, 28, 2012…it all changed. I definitely struggled with the “why God” “is there a God” “if there is than why would this happen”, all these questions. My faith now is actually stronger because of Isabella. There are too many signs and unusual events that happened to me after her passing. Some that can not be explained. All I know is what I personally experienced and now know that there is a “in between” and a “hereafter”. Isabella made these impacts more than a reality in my daily life.

Isabella, Soleil, Ceil and Grant

How do you feel ISF’s call to action has made a difference over the last 10 years?

Let me just state it like this. I can’t even go into my car dealership or grocery store without seeing a poster of the Isabella Santos Foundation. Their call to action has brought an enormous amount of attention and funding to the research of kids cancer. Their whole team has done an incredible job of marketing, fundraising and all around awareness to this wicked, horrible and relentless disease. I have seen this foundation grow from day one and to see it now is a beautiful thing.

Originally, the 5k for Kids Cancer run was a way of raising money to offset the financial burden that Isabella’s parents were faced with due to the overwhelming costs associated with saving Isabella’s life. It has turned into a major Charlotte event, adding a 10K and is raising hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Looking back at where ISF began and where it is 10 years later, with its numerous arms that have developed since its conception, what are you most surprised about and proud of?

The growth. Its incredible to be at the race every year and see the development and magnitude in growth and attention.

Isabella and Soleil

How has your outlook on life changed and what life lessons have you taken away from having lost such a special little girl?

Perspective on all aspects of my life. What I may be going through “at the moment” is NOTHING compared to what IB had to endure. I literally think of her every time I’m going through pain, hardship, stress…whatever it may be. Its puts EVERYTHING into PERSPECTIVE. If her little body and sweet spirit could endure all she went through….you better believe that I can put my soldier rag on and keep pushing forward!

Your relationship with Isabella was different than most. Why do you think you guys bonded so well?

We bonded so well mainly because I wasn’t Mom. I was Ms Stephanie. I was her besties mom that “may have” let her get away with a little more than Erin would have..lol. Staying up later at sleepovers, perhaps more sweets, being super silly and not caring who was looking, different aspects of things, there were many. We just clicked from the first playdate… she was my “Ibba” forever more.

Isabella and Miss Stephanie

When you came to see Isabella before she died Erin recalls that she couldn’t get you to look her in the eyes during that time. Why?

That day, to this very day was the worst day of my life. My grandmother passing and other family and friends in the past was beyond heart wrenching and extremely sad but to actually witness a seven old girl, my daughters best friend, a little girl who was like my own, and watch her take her very last breaths of life was something I couldn’t even believe was truly happening. Isabella had fought so long that I couldn’t even grasp that this was actually it. This was the day and moment she was leaving us. I held her hands, thanked her for being the best friend Soleil could ever have, asked her to watch over Soleil in her life to come, squeezed her hands and gave her our “secret handshake”. I could barely look at her as my heart was literally tearing into a million pieces. I had never until that day felt that kind heartache. I would wake up with panic attacks months after that. Knowing what Erin and Stuart had to go through witnessing their baby girl take her very last breath. It is unimaginable until you go through it or know someone who has. To this very day I have moments of going back to June 28th 2012 and get that feeling of despair all over again. My stomach sinks and I feel a void. What keeps me from staying in a sad place all the time is knowing that Isabella is beyond proud of her family and the accomplishments that have been made. Her passing is not in vain and because of it….lives are and will be saved.

How has Isabella’s passing affected Soleil?

Isabella’s passing has definitely affected Soleil. I guess to some you don’t realize the long term effects on a seven year old when her best friend passes away. Not only did Soleil endure the split of her parents a year and a half prior but then her best friend passing away. Separation anxiety and other issues has risen in the last few years and in journals and therapy sessions you really start to see how it has affected her. Thankfully to a few encounters and unique situations that have occurred in the last few years, her faith in knowing that Isabella is and always will be there to talk to and guide her is a beautiful thing. Soleil talks about her and lets all her friends know that Ibba was the “original” and “always will be” BFF.

For those of you who are not familiar with Neuroblastoma: Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) defines Neuroblastoma as a rare cancer of the sympathetic nervous system – a nerve network that carries messages from the brain throughout the body.  It is usually found in young children and is the most common cancer among infants.  These solid tumors – which take the form of a lump or mass – may begin in nerve tissues in the neck, chest, abdomen, pelvis, or most commonly, in the adrenal gland. They may also spread to other areas of the body, including bone and bone marrow.  The cause of Neuroblastoma is unknown.   Learn more about Neuroblastoma.

My gift to her…

June marks a significant date as it is the month that Isabella lost her fight to neuroblastoma. This year will be 5 years since we lost her to this horrible disease on June 28th, 2012. The Santos family has been through their ups and downs in dealing with losing a daughter, sister, granddaughter, great-granddaughter, niece and cousin. But as you have most likely noticed, they have persevered… and they lead the push to fight for kids with cancer in Isabella’s honor. This month we will be sharing both the happy and raw times as we celebrate Isabella’s spirt and the legacy she left behind. 

My gift to her…

Speech given by Grant Santos (Isabella’s Brother) at the 2nd annual Coffee for a Cure Events.

Isabella and Grant

“Hi, my name is Grant Santos and I am Isabella’s little brother.  Isabella was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma just 6 days after my 1stbirthday so I never really knew her without cancer.  My Mom and Dad tell me stories all the time about my life with her.  We did everything together and I brought so much comfort to her when no one else could.  I would come and visit her in the hospital and crawl right up in bed with her as we would watch movies and laugh while we ate dinner together in her bed.  I would walk around the hospital with her as Mom wheeled her IV pole up and down the hallways.  She would show me around and introduce me to everyone.   She was so proud of me.  We took so many trips together.  We loved going to Disney World and running from ride to ride as we got to meet every Disney Character you could imagine.  We had special days at with the Panthers and got to meet people like Steve Smith, Tony Stewart and more.  Our whole family moved to New York City for a couple of months with Isabella got cancer in her brain.  We stayed in an apartment that overlooked the city.  I would play trains all day long while I waited on Isabella to finish treatment, then she would come home and Mom would take us to the park and play for hours.  People would always look at Isabella in a weird way because she had a big scar on her bald head but I never even noticed it on her.  To me she was always beautiful.  For the years during Isabella’s treatment, I became her best friend.  She would always ask me to hold her hand when she would get her line put in her chest.  It was hard for me to watch, but I knew that she needed me and I would help her be strong.  Near the end of her life, she didn’t want to be around very many people.  But, I was always allowed to be around her.   She would let me crawl in bed with her and watch movies and rub her back.  She would ask about my day and I would tell her all the things I did and she would tell me about her day at home or in the hospital.  We would wrestle with Daddy and laugh and sing at night together before we crawled in bed each night.

Isabella and Grant

These are all stories that my Mom and Dad tell me.  But I don’t really remember them.  I’m thankful for pictures and videos that tell me this story too, and I hope one day these memories become more real to me.  I remember her red hair, and how she said my name “Graaaant” when she would call for me.  I remember she like Taylor Swift and Ariel and American Girl dolls.  I remember the day she died.  I was at a summer camp and my Grandma came to pick me up.  I remember coming into Mom and Dad’s room and she was asleep in their bed and I told her goodbye and that I loved her.  I remember going to Calvary for her funeral and that my cousins were there and Miss Chrissy read a poem.  But I don’t remember much more than that.

It’s crazy to think that we were best friends, but I can’t remember it.  But that is what pediatric cancer does.  It steals people from you.  It steals sons and daughters, it steals brothers and sisters, it steals best friends.  It also steals the possibility of creating memories.  Cancer stole my sister, my best friend and a lifetime of memories that we were supposed to make together.  We were supposed to be in high school together and be at each other’s college graduations and weddings.  We were supposed to be aunts and uncles to each others kids and our kids were going to be cousins who would go to the beach together.  We were supposed to be able to call each other and complain about Mom and Dad and have secrets between us that we would never tell them.  But none of that will happen.

Now, the only way I can be the best brother I can be is to bring her flowers to her site and talk to her in my mind.  But the other thing I can do is help to find a cure for the disease that took her from me.  My gift to her is to prevent someone else losing their best friend too.  She should still be here with me today, riding the bus to school, laughing, playing and fighting – the way that brothers and sisters were meant to be.  But she’s not.

I hope that you will give today in honor of my best friend and sister Isabella.  Together we can make a difference and stop this awful disease from taking one more kid from a family.  I know she is looking down on us and is hopefully proud of the brother that I’m still trying and will always be to be to her.  I miss her so much.”  -Isabella’s Brother, Grant

We can accomplish so much more if we fight cancer together.  Learn more about donating to the Isabella Santos Foundation.

Where she found the strength, I’ll never know…

June marks a significant date as it is the month that Isabella lost her fight to neuroblastoma. This year will be 5 years since we lost her to this horrible disease on June 28th, 2012. The Santos family has been through their ups and downs in dealing with losing a daughter, sister, granddaughter, great-granddaughter, niece and cousin. But as you have most likely noticed, they have persevered… and they lead the push to fight for kids with cancer in Isabella’s honor. This month we will be sharing both the happy and raw times as we celebrate Isabella’s spirt and the legacy she left behind.

Where she found the strength, I’ll never know…

Isabella and Daddy

“Unfortunately, Isabella is no longer getting out of bed.  As a matter of fact, she is barely moving.. or barely awake.  I know that CB could never give you a crisp enough picture of what is exactly going on here and I should do better at that.  So many of you have followed her in this journey for so long and I know you are wanting to know how she is doing.  Our nurse visit today told us that we are just a couple days away from her passing.  Her heartbeat is slowing down but sounding different because her heart is working harder.  Her oxygen is slowing down a bit too.  Her breathing is slowing down so much in fact that I just stare at her.  She will take a breath and then it will be so long until the next one that I find myself holding my breath until she takes one again.  She sleeps most of the day and gives me small glimpses until what is in her mind.  I lay with her so quiet and still and listen to the things that she says in her sleep.  She asks me if I see things or tells someone to wait on Mommy.  She will say Grant’s name but then it wakes her and she says that she was just dreaming.  She flinches and smiles, makes gestures with her hands and squeezes my hand softly.  It’s like she is talking to someone.  But the occasional smile let’s me know that it is not conversation that scares her or makes her sad.  Each night Stuart and I snuggle in beside her and tell her things just in case she is not with us when we wake up.  We have been told by hospice that we are lucky.  She is relaxed, comfortable and not in pain.  So many children pass in pain or discomfort or even worse.. scared.  She seems to be at some peace.  Grant misses her already.  He comes in bed and wants to crawl in next to her.  The other day he just snuggled beside her and scratched her back while they (he) watched a movie.  She didn’t moan or cry out for him to leave.  She just laid there with him quietly.. as if to give him a moment.  Sophia walks around dressed in princess outfits and opens the door occasionally to say, “Bella!” but then is quickly shooed out so Ib isn’t disturbed.  Behind the scenes we are making arrangements so that we are as prepared as we can be.  We are once again overwhelmed by the things showing up at our door.  Fruit, flowers, meals, cards, items for the kids.. amazing stuff really.  I’m picturing the mounds of thank you cards that I want to write when this is all done but I’m also scared to write them because it will mean she is no longer with us.  It is becoming a beautiful thing that I’m watching honestly.  You think you love your kids, but this is like no love I ever knew.  I feel so privileged to be hand in hand with her during this last time in her life.  She is finally allowing other people to have quiet moments with her as well.  It’s as if she is giving them some last gift to say thank you to them as well.  Even my Mom who she adores was moaned and groaned at for some time.. but she is curled up in bed with her now receiving her gift from Isabella for all she gave up in her life.  I’m so thankful that everyone who is important, gets to be a part of this in the end.

Sunday was Stuart’s birthday.  Isabella found the strength inside her to come down and sing to him.  Where she found the strength, I’ll never know.  She gave him an entry to the NYC marathon this November 4th that will run right down 1st Avenue by Sloan-Kettering and the Ronald McDonald House of NYC.  Stuart will be running on behalf of Fred’s Team which raises money for MSKCC’s Neuroblastoma research program.  Stuart has lots of motivation for this run and he will amaze us all.  She will be there in spirit cheering him on… and even in her passing, she is still trying to make a difference in the kids that will come behind her.”  -Isabella’s Mommy, June 26, 2012
We can accomplish so much more if we fight cancer together.  Learn more about donating to the Isabella Santos Foundation.

What remains…

June marks a significant date as it is the month that Isabella lost her fight to neuroblastoma. This year will be 5 years since we lost her to this horrible disease on June 28th, 2012. The Santos family has been through their ups and downs in dealing with losing a daughter, sister, granddaughter, great-granddaughter, niece and cousin. But as you have most likely noticed, they have persevered… and they lead the push to fight for kids with cancer in Isabella’s honor. This month we will be sharing both the happy and raw times as we celebrate Isabella’s spirt and the legacy she left behind.

What remains…

One afternoon in late summer 2010 a pretty, vibrant mother with long dark hair will come breezing in to the studio to buy the largest quantity of art classes available.  She will tell you how much her daughter just loooves art and will mention almost as an oh-by-the-way that her daughter has cancer.

The first time Isabella comes to class, you won’t really know what to expect. She is an energetic, healthy looking little five year old and there is nothing about her appearance, demeanor or personality that clues you in to her dreaded disease, Neuroblastoma, except that she has a quarter inch of fuzzy hair and a prominent scar on her head. While chit-chatting waiting for the other kids to arrive, she informs you that her favorite song is Party in the USA by Miley Cyrus. As you fire up the iPod in the studio, as if in a trance she jumps up and launches into a full dance routine, completely oblivious to you, the other teacher, or any of the kids watching her. She’ll continue to regale you with her concert-worthy performance for the duration of the song without ever slowing down. It will be obvious to you that she’s dancing for her own enjoyment rather than anyone else’s, and you’re pretty sure she couldn’t care less that anyone else is even there.

“Isabella, WOW that was amazing! Where did you learn to dance like that?!”

“My Dad,” she’ll casually reply as she sits back down not even the slightest bit out of breath, and asks what we’re making that day.

From that first day in class, each time you see her you will never know if it will be the last. Not wanting to seem inappropriate or focused on her illness, after the other kids leave, you and your friend Alison, who is helping at the studio that day, send her home with a blue zebra stripe tutu and matching case filled with art supplies, hoping you’ve made some small impression on her and that she enjoys them when she’s in the hospital. From that day forward, pretty much every time she comes to class she will wear the tutu, but almost two years later you won’t be entirely sure that she knows your name or any of the other teachers. Unlike most kids her age, she is completely self-possessed and never seeks approval, validation or any kind of reassurance, and as long as you pass her the color she needs, your presence is of relatively little importance. She will often sign her artwork Isabella Joanne, and over time you will become pretty convinced she is an old soul.

She will attend Saturday classes fairly regularly, sometimes every few weeks, sometimes every few months. In the all-too-brief time that you will know her, she’ll paint a colorful heart on canvas for Mother’s Day, a chalk pastel “love-a-saurus” for Valentine’s Day, a watercolor dragonfly, a cat named Jake, a dream catcher filled with miniature drawings of everyone & everything she loves, a flying cow, and you wish you could remember what all else. You always take lots of pictures of the kids’ artwork but you’ll later wish you had taken a lot more of hers. Sometimes she’ll be completely bald, other times she’ll have short red hair. Standing in line at the sink one day a little boy will nonchalantly ask her why she doesn’t have any hair, and she’ll just ignore him, completely unfazed.

Often, the spunky little girl who comes to class doesn’t seem to be the same one that you just bawled your eyes out about while reading her mother’s Caringbridge journal, sometimes seeming to bounce back to good health almost overnight.  Every now & then you’ll almost forget that she is even sick, except when she suddenly stops painting and crawls up in your lap and hugs your neck like a baby tree sloth.

In class, she’ll mostly talk about her cat, her big brother & baby sister, her grandma, DisneyWorld & the TopCats. She’ll stubbornly reject any creative suggestion you will ever give her about her artwork, preferring always to do it her way. She’ll have very particular ideas about how she wants to do things and one day when her penguin’s wings don’t look quite right to her, she will actually stand up and stomp her foot and refuse to continue when you won’t let her start completely over five minutes before the end of class. On more than one occasion you’ll be slightly embarrassed when her mom picks her up and sees that she is visibly upset or has just barely stopped crying.

One day during summer camp in 2011, at snack time you’ll ask her if she wants to tell everyone about her upcoming 5k race. She’ll look nervous and say “I don’t know.” You’ll drop it but a few minutes later she’ll come up to you and, her voice shaking a little, tell you she decided she would like to tell everyone. She’ll walk to the front of the table and courageously announce that she has a race every year to help kids all over the world who have cancer, it’s called the Isabella Santos 5k, and she even has her own website! And its ok if you don’t want to run, you can just walk and you will still get a t-shirt! Normally pretty rambunctious at snack time, the kids will sit silently listening. You’ll jump in and quietly explain that Isabella has cancer but that she’s in remission, does anyone know what that means? Struggling to make them feel comfortable enough discussing it, you tell them it’s ok if they want to ask questions.  { silence  }  “Miss Jennifer, what are we are going to paint next?”

During the Christmas holidays that year, you’ll be overjoyed that she has been doing so well with her recent treatment, and feel lucky to see her practically every day, sometimes twice a day. In classic Isabella fashion, she’ll waltz in to the cookie decorating workshop toting her own containers of orange decorations, not caring in the least that they are from Halloween. You like her style. In the Peppermint Forest gift-making workshop, she’ll track you down to ask you how to spell “Mrs. Keagy”.

One of the stations is a mulling spice sachet table, the concept of which is of course completely lost on the kids. { What were we thinking?? } Isabella will be running a tight agenda that day, so she’ll quickly bundle some star anise, cardamom pods & cinnamon sticks into a piece of cheese cloth, tie it with a ribbon, and announce that this one (whatever it is) is for her uncle. “Isabella – smell it! Doesn’t it smell good?” With several other stations yet to get to, she’ll just look past you and say “Not really.”  You’ll notice most of the other kids that day will also decide that a mulling spice sachet is the perfect gift for their uncle!

As we’re winding down before the end of the workshop, you’ll walk over to the book shelf and reach for The Giving Tree when Isabella comes out of nowhere excitedly announcing that book is her and her Dad’s favorite book – ever since her Dad was a little kid – and begs to please read it to the class. She’ll sit on your lap, reading it in a strong confident voice, stopping to instruct you to handle the longer passages she doesn’t want to be bothered with. As she is reading, you’ll watch her eyes and facial expressions and scan the room full of kids & a few parents listening so quietly and intently, and make a mental note to remember this moment.

The last time you’ll ever see her in April of 2012, she’ll show up in her tutu and a little fresh-picked red flower tucked behind her ear. Something is, but isn’t, different. Before class you’ll ask some of the new kids how old they are and Isabella will try to pull a fast one and tell everyone she is almost eight. “Um, ex-cuuuuuse me little missy, but I think you just barely turned SEV-EN! Ahem!!”  On June 28, 2012, when everyone who loves Isabella is forced to accept that she will forever be seven, you’ll remember her saying that and start to cry.

That day, you’ll find yourself wanting to follow her around with the camera a little more than usual, and feel a little weird when you are compelled to take a picture of her hand casually resting in her apron pocket, and her chubby little blue sparkly toes as she is standing at the wall painting. You’ll secretly be a little happy when her mom is late picking her up, giving you and Miss Hannah time for a quick off-the-cuff game of “Read. My. Lips.”. Isabella will start off giddy with excitement and can’t wait to stump you, but will quickly grow exasperated and indignant every time you guess her words on the first try. “How are you doing that??” she’ll moan, as her mom comes in the door.

You won’t really remember anything special about saying goodbye to her that day. You’ll later discover her little red flower that you set on your desk so she wouldn’t lose it, and will put it in a safe spot for her, unaware in that moment that she’ll never be back to reclaim it.

Of all the beautiful things that Isabella will leave you with, it will be the only tangible object that you can pick up and hold in your hand, as precious and weightless as a diamond.”  – Jennifer Bryant, Small Hands Big Art

We can accomplish so much more if we fight cancer together.  Learn more about donating to the Isabella Santos Foundation.