Tag Archive for: Charlotte fundraising events

Thank You to our Breakfast at Tiffany’s Sponsors

Although our Breakfast at Tiffany’s coffee events were canceled this week, we wanted to brag on our business sponsors that not only support us, but support so many others.  We spent months planning for these two inspirational packed mornings and we couldn’t wait to share it with nearly 600 attendees. Many generous business sponsors in the community were equally excited to help us make an impact this week and we are incredibly grateful to each of them for their support.

During this time more than ever community support is critical.  We are thankful for those businesses who have been with us since the beginning, as well as so many new ones who believe in our mission.  We are in this together and know we can help kids fighting beat cancer, grow hair and live their dreams.


A new relationship for us this year is with The JEM Project and we couldn’t be more grateful.  This team of women and their passion inspire us and we appreciate them stepping into the presenting sponsor role for our breakfast events.   

JEM Project is dedicated to improving the welfare of children and women, along with preserving wildlife and the planet. This organization empowers organizations in these areas through charitable giving. 






#WishWednesday is back! Two of our biggest events are coming up and we pride ourselves in creating the best auctions in the city for both our September 5K/10K event and our October Pumpkin Charity Ball.  2 events… that’s a heck of a lot of stuff.  Our ISF Auction Committee is hard at work, and we can’t make this happen without your generous support.  

Participating in #WishWednesday is an easy way to give back quickly from your computer or taking your child shopping to pick out items to donate. We count on our supporters every year to help us create amazing packages. Every #WishWednesday we will focus on a specific type of item that you can shop easily from our Amazon Wish List. If you prefer to go to Target or another store, you can mail it to us at the below address. Or just want to send an Amazon Gift Card, we are appreciative of it all! SHOP FOR ISF


Attn: Erica Stawick

Isabella Santos Foundation

9935-D Rea Road #275

Charlotte, NC 28277

JULY 24 #WISHWEDNESDAY: Amazon Gift Cards! These are great to help us hand pick specific items to create amazing packages!

JULY 31 #WISHWEDENESDAY: All things LEGOS. Marvel Superheroes, Disney Princess, Friends and Toy Story. Pick out a Lego favorite.

AUGUST 7 #WISHWEDNESDAY: All things VIDEO GAMES: Video games… we love and hate them! But if they bring in bucks for our upcoming auctions… we will love them! Xbox gift cards, Playstation gift cards and video games.  Get a few friends to go in together on a Xbox Console… we would love for you to get creative in helping us create amazing packages for our upcoming Sept & Oct auction packages.

AUGUST 14 #WISHWEDNESDAY: All things MUSIC! Whether you listen to country or pop, rap or rock, we need your help! We are asking for some of our favorite music accessories: Beats, AirPods, iTunes/Apple music gift cards, bluetooth speakers, you name it! Share with us your favorite way to rock or dance it out! 🎧

Pediatric Cancer Event, Dixie Pig Tega Cay: April 27

Got plans on Saturday, April 27? How about heading to the Dixie Pig in Tegay Cay for a day of fun to benefit pediatric cancer research through ISF and Levine Children’s Hospital?

Great Saturday event for the entire family starting at 1pm and running through 5… live and silent auctions, live music, bounce houses, and more. Thanks to Blue Blaze Brewing, Dreamchaser’s Brewery and NoDa Brewing Company for donating beer so all sales go directly to pediatric cancer research!

  • Live & silent auction (Autographed Jaire Alexander Green Bay Packer Jersey, Jet Blue tickets, a weekend in Blowing Rock, gift cards to local restaurants and salons, ect).
  • Free bounce houses (sponsored by Lake Norman Chrysler Dodge) for the kids,
  • Live music
  • Beer purchases from Blue Blaze, Dreamchasers, and NoDa breweries go directly to the event.

Come on out for a great afternoon and make a difference in a child’s life!


  • WHEN: Saturday, April 27, 2019
  • TIME: 1pm-5pm
  • WHERE: Dixie Pig Tega Cay: 2150 Gold Hill Rd, Tega Cay, SC

Erin’s Journey to Dancing With the Stars: Why did I sign up for this again?

Written by Erin Santos, ISF Executive Director & President

No turning back now!

I’m two weeks into my rehearsal for the Charlotte Ballet’s Dancing with the Stars… let’s just say I needed week 2.  The first week was a little scary.  I had an idea of what I wanted to do.  I knew the idea was a little out there and maybe didn’t fall in line with what most of the dancers were doing, but that is kind of who I was.  I figure if I didn’t do something that was totally me – it wasn’t worth doing.  I just couldn’t go out there and do some ballroom dance to some cancer song because it was relevant to Isabella.  This dance was going to be different.  So I worked on a playlist – sent it over and crossed my fingers.  

Juwan and I had met twice already.  Once in a coffee shop where it felt like a blind date where we talked about our background, our hopes and dreams and touched on some personal stories.   I could have birthed him, he’s so young – but I try to get past this.  I figure, let me invite him to my holiday party in December so we can get to know each other in a social setting to shake off the nerves.  He arrived with his boyfriend, Mason, after a Nutcracker performance.  Luckily I was a couple of drinks in so I ran to him and hugged him like an old high school bestie.  Honestly, the night became a little of a blur but I definitely know our eyes connected that night when the music turned up and we really saw what we were dealing with.  My main goal that night was just to prove that I’m not some old, suburban housewife who can barely get out of bed after losing her daughter.  I think all those ideas were lit on fire that night.


This guy is crazy fun & super positive!

The first day of practice really just involved us sitting on the dance floor and listening to my playlists.  10 songs was a bit much so let’s narrow it down and figure out what was a MUST and what part of the song was a MUST.  Once we got up and got loose, he wanted to run through just a few moves to see if I was teachable and if I had any rhythm.  Teachable… yes.  Rhythm… depends on the night.  I was stiff and felt like a sober mom.  But, I must have impressed him enough because he said, “Ok, I can work with this”.  Yikes.


Here we go.  Damn am I stiff.  I decide not to stretch out because who stretches before they go to the club?  One trick in and one slide on the floor and I find myself with a pulled groin, pulled quad muscles and skin missing off my ankles.  Apparently, this is real exercise and there is a way to dress for sliding around on a wooden dance floor.  Noted.  I tried not to complain because it was Day 1 but I left feeling a little discouraged.  I felt like I could dance (a little) and I thought I was definitely in better shape than to pull every muscle in my body.  Homework: buy long sweatpants.  If you know me, you know I do not own this kind of clothing.  But Lululemon pants weren’t giving my skin the protection it required to crawl around like I needed to.  Hoping to find “cute” sweatpants somewhere.  Also, I express to Juwan that I’m getting KILLED in the fundraising.  He assures me it’s early but it doesn’t stop the embarrassment in my stomach with being in last place on the leader board.  


I have never owned a pair of sweatpants!

This guy is my spirit animal!

I’m in these freaking sweatpants.  I have on no makeup and a hat on.  I look like shit.  Juwan comes in and puts on these 6-inch heels that he got at goodwill, which makes my 6-foot tall partner closer to 6’6.  We walk through what we did last week and I’m just as bad.  I now have a part in the dance that I call my “Dirty Dancing Move”.  You know the jump and lift that she is supposed to do but wusses out?  Yeah, the slide that took the skin off my ankle is stressing me.  We try to do it and I land directly on my knee.  By the way, this bad knee land will produce a bruise the size of a small orange on me.  Not to mention random bruises that are showing up on the other leg.  (This one may or not of been acquired at the Justin Timberlake concert two nights ago.)  I ask for us to put last week’s stuff in the file and move on.  Our next bit comes a little easier for me.  It’s a little more manageable but I’m still stiff.  I’m actually not sure if I’m stiff or it’s that my partner moves like a damn snake across the floor.  It would be easier if he weren’t so good.  I determine that I’m not going to let his moves shake me and I must start dressing the part.  I’m in sneakers, he’s in heels.  That move is over.


Heels! Ah, I love them!

Heels.  This already makes me happy.  I whip them on and instantly feel like a sexpot.  I’m still in sweats but I style the Under Armor pants in a way that is hip and not so… I’m running in to pick up butter and a six-pack from Wal-Mart.  I’m on a work high so I’m a little giddy but start off by throwing myself under the bus.  I’m not practicing.  But, by saying it out loud I agree to change my ways and will seriously put some time in outside the studio.  This is starting to mean something to me and my competitiveness is showing.  New song.  Juwan is making choreography up on the fly and I love watching his process.  He does some moves, then does some fast clapping and says, “Oh my god yes.”  He starts the count.  Today I’m feeling it and the stiffness is fading.  I think an upcoming night out with Juwan plus drinks will help this continue to fade – but he has given up drinking this month.  Whatever.  Quitting is for losers.  He will be back on it soon and when he is ready – I’ll be there to catch him… with a bottle of Titos.  We are rushed but I still have it.  I leave the studio and obsess over the music.  My playlist is annoying my kids but I am assuring them it is their musical education.  One day they will thank me for it.  WTF with this fundraising number?  How are some of these cats doing so well at this?  I tell myself it’s because I fundraise for a living so people are tired of my ask.  But I’m in dead dead dead last.  Wishing someone would swoop in and drop funds on the last place girl.  I mean I’m working my ass off out here and I have the bruises to show it.


My partner!

Like most things in life, one good day usually leads to a not so good day.  Today was one of those days where I was running late (shocker!) and was frazzled upon arrival.  I was still on my dancing high from yesterday but that quickly ended.  Why did I pick songs that are so damn fast?  My body just doesn’t move this fast!  Juwan asked if I wanted him to slow the tempo down, to which he answered as soon as it came out of his mouth to “Nope”.  The songs and steps are blending in my head and we are just adding more and more to them.  I’m honestly looking forward to having the next two days off because I need to gather my thoughts on these dances.  I need to watch the videos, write down the moves and study them like a test.  Just remembering the moves isn’t enough because they have to be sharp and cool on the beat.  Write them down, test myself, and walk through them slowly, put them to music.  Luckily I got a facial this week so my entire face is peeling off.  Sounds like a great weekend to stay indoors and then show up Sunday to impress Juwan with my progress.  I also pulled my groin again.  Welcome to 41.

To add on top of this all, I thought it would be a great idea to add signing up for the Transformation Challenge at Orange Theory.  3-4 classes a week plus dancing on top of that.  I had the weigh-in and measurements done today.  Figure if I’m going to go for it over the next 6 weeks, let’s turn this old bag of bones into something I can be proud of.  Remind me of this when I start breaking down in a few weeks.  

ISF has 20 tickets held for my guests so it’s not too late to purchase them until January 30th.  I would love to have a big group in the audience to help calm my nerves.  Yes, I know the ticket price is a little heavy but word on the street is this is one of the BEST events in Charlotte.  Can’t attend the event?   Go online and vote for me!  I need some people out there who are pushing us out to their networks, business and individuals.  We need all the help we can get!  Go to gala.charlotteballet.org to buy tickets and to vote.  And when you get out there and see some of these people killing us on fundraising, you will want to help.  

Charlotte Community Comes Together to Bring $141,141 IMPACT for Pediatric Cancer


Event Photos courtesy of Stikeleather Photography

Our 3rd Annual Coffee for a Cure Events last month were all about creating hope.  Hope for more pediatric cancer options.  Hope for new research.  Hope for families and children fighting this ugly disease.  Over two mornings, we talked about IMPACT, INSPIRATION and LEGACY and how we all can do our part to make things happen.  We are very excited to announce that we raised $141,141 over the course of the two mornings with donations still coming in!

The second week of April was a BIG week for the foundation!  Coffee for a Cure came directly on the heels of announcing our $5 million commitment to Levine Children’s Hospital to establish The Isabella Santos Foundation Rare & Solid Tumor Program at Levine Children’s Hospital.  This program will impact more than just Charlotte as it will be the first of its kind in the United States.  With this $5 million 5-year initiative, we hope to change lives.  We will be the foundation of something special and will have the best pediatric cancer program, right here is Charlotte.  It will take years of fundraising and years of building… but we hope you will join us in this important mission.

Ten years have passed, and we have seen lots of changes in the Isabella Santos Foundation and we are excited for what the future will bring.  The momentum is strong, the focus is broadening, and the mission to help is growing.  Three extremely proud accomplishments include:  1). Over $1 Million raised in 2017  2).  MIBG Suite is in process and to be unveiled Dec 2018 3). Isabella Santos Foundation has DONATED over $2.5 Million to date.  And we could never have made those accomplishments without every single donor, supporter, volunteer or team member.

We also couldn’t have accomplished such milestones without community leaders advocating for pediatric cancer and our foundation.  We are very proud to have some of the best community leaders on our side.  Joining us for another year as our event emcee, Molly Grantham of WBTV has been with us since the beginning and continues to support our foundation’s mission at every turn (and lately there has been a lot of them).  We thank Molly for her constant support and the IMPACT she is making and INSPIRATION she is creating through her #MollysKids work.

During our annual Coffee for a Cure events we look forward to recognizing individuals in our community with the 6th Annual Isabella Santos Award.  Congratulations to Tim McBride, Tom Patania, and Christie Keagy.  Each one of these individuals has made a difference to those around them and continue to do so. They are out to make an impact and inspire change. And we love that they impact and inspire in their own way.  We thank them for the kind individuals they are, the admirable characteristics they embody and all that they have done for the fight against childhood cancer.

To everyone who supports us…we cannot begin to put into words to how grateful that we are for the impact you are helping us make. We are so proud of what we have accomplished together and it is because of YOU.  We hope you will continue to join us.  We are fortunate to live a community that stands behind us.  Thank you to the following businesses who support our mission of fighting childhood cancer and helped us make the 2018 Coffee for a Cure Events possible. 

Event Photos courtesy of Stikeleather Photography