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March Executive Director Dish

Executive Director Update, March 2019, Written by Erin Santos

It got a little emotional. This girl is incredible!

What a month we have had since my last Executive Update.  It honestly seems like such a blur because for me personally, I haven’t been this busy in a long time.  It was one of those months where I feel like I might have taken on too much.  As usual, my team surrounds me during these times and always steps up to handle what falls off my plate.  

For me, the biggest task I had this month was the Charlotte Ballet’s Dancing the Stars event.  It was a stressful journey for me because I found myself going back and forth over what was stressing me out more.  While I knew this event was going to bring great awareness to ISF, it was difficult for me to fundraise.  The competitive nature of who I am just couldn’t shake it but my team kept assuring me where I fell in the fundraising was not the most important reason why I was doing this. Bringing awareness to the foundation and what we are doing for kids fighting cancer was the primary reason.  In the end, I raised just over $86,000 and approximately $35,000 will come back to our organization, which we are very grateful for.  I know many of our supporters were hesitant to donate because you would have preferred for 100% of your donation to come to ISF.  We get that.  And for those of you who wanted to support and have your entire donation go to us, I would love for you to donate to Isabella’s Wish Fundraiser to help us reach our $6,000 fundraising goal to gift to Make-A-Wish for a wish trip.  Did you see my latest blog about spending time with Sydney, the wish child we helped fund last year? Incredibly surreal.

My Spirit Animal (also my dance partner)

The dancing also became stressful.  My body just wasn’t doing the things I needed it to do and I felt like I was constantly in pain.  This got old and I found myself being grumpy often.  No matter how much Advil and Epson salt baths I would take, the next day of dancing would just send me back into soreness.  I’m not quite sure how these dancers do this every day.  It was eye-opening for sure.  

The night of the event couldn’t come soon enough.  I was styled by the one and only Whitely Hamlin (The Queen City Style) and Neiman Marcus provided me with the most gorgeous dress I have ever worn.  Having my group of supporters with me that night helped shake off the jitters and I felt so loved by them all.  My dancer partner Juwan was a professional as always and made me feel like I could accomplish anything.  Even though I made quite a few mistakes, we ended up taking home the Judges Choice award for best dance and the night was finally behind me.  

Overall amazing experience… but definitely happy to have it behind me.  

While I was running around training with DWTS, the team was moving all the other pieces of the Foundation along.  We completed an amazing campaign for our Cancer Messed With product with the help of many wonderful people in the community.  We hope you enjoyed seeing all of the “Cancer Messed with the Wrong City” shirts as we spread love to cancer patients everywhere with our #cancermessedwith social posts.  Thanks to our continued Angel investor, we are starting to double down on CMW and you will see lots of exciting changes with the product coming in the next quarter.  If you don’t follow CMW on Instagram, be sure to so you can watch everything come together.

Karen Murphy

Our head of Corporate Sponsorships has been KILLING it this last month.  Karen Murphy continues to blow me away each month as she does a great job communicating with our sponsors about what we are doing at ISF.  Of course, our largest partners continue to see the importance of what we are doing here in the community and come back year over year.  Brighthouse Financial, Community Blood Center of the Carolinas, Modern Nissan of Lake Norman, Scoop Charlotte, Atrium Health, Mass Mutual Carolinas and Noda Brewing Company have once again aligned with us as sustaining partners and we appreciate all they do for us.  Karen is meeting with people every day and we love seeing new companies as well as continued partnerships signing up to be a part of our mission.  We still have a couple of sustaining sponsorships available so contact Karen if you are interested.

Kerry Winslow

Speaking of Corporations, Kerry Winslow our Director of Corporate Philanthropy has been plugging away at our first ever Networking Event scheduled for this month at the City Club in Uptown Charlotte.  As we try to expand our reach into the Uptown area, we feel that it is critical to get our mission out to these companies.  Gene Woods from Atrium Health with be joining us for a meet and mingle to learn a little more about who we are and what we are doing for the city of Charlotte.  Educating the community on our impact is one way we hope to make a difference and Kerry is leading the charge in this effort.

Tia Wackerhagen

Our Three Wish Circle and Ambassador team is gearing up for another year of supporting ISF is a big way.  Our 3 wish members are such great advocates for us in the community because they really get what we are trying to do here.  Tia Wackerhagen, our Development Director is already in communication with these families to fine tune our giving society and hope to bring more members into this exclusive group of donors.  Our Ambassadors wrapped up a fundraising season that blew us away and we are hoping to bring them back this year as well as grow the team to continue to make a difference for the families receiving MIBG treatment.

Rachel Wood

Marketing.  Good lord is this a full plate.  Not only is our Director of Marketing, Rachel Wood, managing the day to day ISF marketing and social communication but redesigning the look and feel of ISF as well as our website.  We want to be able to provide the most up to date information on what we are doing in the community and the patients we are supporting and this job is never-ending.  Rachel was the brains behind the CMW campaign in February, organizing a meet up with our Make-A-Wish recipient Sydney, all of the Jersey Mike’s Month of Giving marketing and more.  Her to-do list every day gives me anxiety so I hope you are enjoying the content she provides!  It’s a ton!

Maitland Danner

And Maitland Danner. What would our foundation do without Maitland.  She is the jack of all trades.  The glue that holds it all together.  The voice of reason. The planner and everything in between that I didn’t mention.  She has her hands in every single detail of ISF and we could not run without her.

Our upcoming month is one of the biggest of the year at ISF.  We have so much happened that it’s hard to wrap our head around it.  Isabella’s 14th birthday is this Saturday, which is unreal to me.  Our partnership at the Community Blood Center of the Carolinas is the ONLY way for me to get through the day.  This is the BIGGEST blood drive we have ever had and we already have over 200 appointments.  We are hoping to creep up to 500 by Saturday and need all the help we can get.  We also hope to raise enough money to grant a wish in Isabella’s honor so help us if you can.

March is also Jersey Mike’s Month of Giving.  You know the event and why wouldn’t you support a business that directly impacts the Charlotte community?  And all you have to do is eat subs!  Throughout the entire month of March eat at 39 greater Charlotte Jersey Mike’s Subs, use the weekly coupons here, you can make an in-store donation and buy a cookie. 100% of cookie sales go back to the foundation all month long. What you save through the coupon, give back at the register! Easy!  The big day is March 27th, ‘Day of Giving’,  where 100% of sales go back to the Isabella Santos Foundation at participating stores in the Greater Charlotte area.  Last year we received $135,000… unreal! We absolutely love our Jersey Mikes partnership.

I’m want to take a minute to thank our amazing Board of Directors here at ISF.  This group has almost a full year under their belts and these people have been a godsend to the organization.  We are growing our board and our current members have opened doors for us that we never thought were possible.  The commitment these people have to our mission is unbelievable and we are so excited to expand our board next month by doubling our board seats.  It makes me excited to see our year ahead.  So thank you to the ISF board for taking us to the next level yet again.

Okay, so ways you can help this month….

  1. Schedule a Blood Donation Appointment for Saturday
  2. Donate to Help Fund a Wish in honor of Isabella’s Birthday
  3. Eat Jersey Mike’s Subs this month like it’s your job
  4. Eat at Melting Pot for their March Fondue Raiser
  5. Become a Sponsor
  6. Follow CMW on Social Media
  7. Purchase a CMW Shirt to Support Someone You Know
  8. Follow, Like, Share & Comment on our ISF Social Posts:  ISF Facebook, ISF Instagram, ISF LinkedIn
  9. Become an Ambassador for ISF
  10. Reach out to us!  Have an idea, what to get involved?

March is big.  Be a part of it.  Don’t just watch from the sidelines – get involved with us.  

Isabella Santos Foundation Receives $45,000 Gift from All-In to Fight Cancer

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Aug. 13, 2018 – The Isabella Santos Foundation announced today that it received a $45,000 donation from the All-In to Fight Cancer 2018 Texas Hold’em fundraiser.

“The Isabella Santos Foundation is a wonderful beneficiary partner and we are thrilled to be able to support their mission and make an impact on our local cancer community,” said Steve Amedio, co-founder of All-In to Fight Cancer.

The donation to Isabella Santos Foundation will support research for neuroblastoma and other rare pediatric cancers, including two endeavors at Atrium Health’s Levine Children’s Hospital: the MIBG Suite, a specialized therapy program which is under construction, and the Isabella Santos Foundation Rare and Solid Tumor Programannounced earlier this year.

“We greatly appreciate the generous donation from All-In to Fight Cancer and being among its cancer charity partners,” said Erin Santos, Executive Director and President of the Isabella Santos Foundation. “The All-In Texas Hold’em fundraiser is a terrific event that brings the community together to make incredible things happen for cancer patients in our Queen City.”

About All-In To Fight Cancer

Founded in 2010, All-In to Fight Cancer is a grassroots, nonprofit group dedicated to increasing public awareness and raising money to find a cure for cancer, by hosting Texas Hold’em tournaments. To date, they have raised over $1,000,000 to support the fight against cancer. Each year, they choose benefitting organizations that are doing incredible things in the local cancer community. They are a grassroots organization that is committed to keeping their funding local and as high-impact as possible – every penny of our proceeds goes straight to our partners. For more information, visit http://www.allintofightcancer.org/.

About Isabella Santos Foundation

The Isabella Santos Foundation (ISF) is a 501(c)3 childhood cancer foundation dedicated to raising funds for research for neuroblastoma, other rare pediatric cancers, and charities that directly impact the lives of children with cancer. ISF was founded in honor of Isabella Santos from Charlotte, N.C. who lost her battle against neuroblastoma. ISF works to improve rare pediatric cancer treatment options in an effort to improve the survival rate of kids with cancer. For more information, visit www.isabellasantosfoundation.org  or follow ISF on Facebook (www.facebook.com/IsabellaSantosFoundation), Instagram (www.instagram.com/theisfoundation) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/TheISFoundation).

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CONTACT:

Jenni Walker – Walker PR Group – 980-339-8041-office/704-649-6571-cell

jenni@walkerprgroup.com

#WishWednesday: American Girl Gifts

The Isabella Santos Foundation September 5k/10/Fun Run for Kids Cancer event is approaching fast on September 29th, 2018.  We hold this event in September for one reason… to raise awareness for pediatric cancer awareness month and push YOU to take action.  Last year we had almost 3,000 participants and raised close to $380,000!   This event was started in honor of one girl’s fight against neuroblastoma and we love to see how it continues to grow each year in her honor.  The proceeds from this event support our foundation’s commitment to establish the Isabella Santos Foundation Rare & Solid Tumor Program at Levine Children’s Hospital, a $5 million commitment.

Every year our Auction Committee works tooth on one of our most coveted race day activities, the ISF Auction & Raffle.  We pride ourselves in creating one of the best ISF Auction & Raffles in the city.  But we can’t do it without our generous supporters and businesses.  Are you willing to help us create a must-have package?

Isabella and her American Girl Doll

Isabella didn’t go many places without her American Girl dolls… even at the hospital receiving blood products as pictured here! Isabella spent hours dressing her dolls and picking out their outfits.  They were her comfort items during childhood cancer treatments.

For today’s Wish Wednesday ask we are requesting all things American Girl for our upcoming auction at our 11th Annual 5k/10k For Kids Cancer event. Anything American Girl is appreciated: gift cards, dolls, outfits and accessories. These dolls brought so much joy to Isabella, help us bring joy to another little girl in her honor!

Mail to:

Melanie Miller/ISF Auction Chair
9930 Hazelview Drive
Charlotte 28277

6th Annual Isabella Santos Award

Don’t ever underestimate the impact that you may have on someone else’s life.

Last week during our Coffee for a Cure events, we recognized three individuals with the 6th Annual Isabella Santos Award.  Each award recipient below 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.

Tom Patania & Tim McBride, Isabella Santos Award Recipients with last year’s recipient Jackson Lowry (middle)

TIM MCBRIDE (McBeast)

If you have ever attended a run in Charlotte, you know him.  His famous beard and part-time Christmas job may have you know his face, but if that’s all you know – you are missing out.  Tim McBride lost both of his parents to cancer and his story is amazing.  2 years ago he said he was going to run 50 miles in honor of losing his dad 50 years ago.  I came out and joined him on his run for about 11 miles and listened to him tell me his life story and how Cancer Messed With the Wrong Kid by taking both of his parents.  He runs for every type of cancer cause and is constantly fundraising.  He runs every single day – and as of today has run 2,324 days in a row – never stopping one single day.  He is one of our top foundation supporters and is our most loved Dream Team member for sure.  

TOM PATANIA

We never would have met Tim, had there not been a Tom.  Tom Patania, our beloved Dream Team marathon coach graciously stepped forward 5 years ago with an idea of training a few people to run a half-marathon for ISF.  All in the name of his mom who lost her own battle to cancer.  5 years later, hundreds of runners and over $400,000 later – his impact became 10 fold.  Tom was up before the sun, organizing runs, water stops, cheerleading and motivating a team of grumpy early morning runners.  His positivity and optimizim was infectious.  He helped make runners and walker’s dreams a reality and in the same time – made a huge impact in the world of pediatric cancer.  

Christie Keagy & Erin Santos, Isabella Santos Award

CHRISTIE KEAGY

Impact comes in many different forms.  Not only has Christie made a personal impact on Isabella and her family, she continues to volunteer for our organization by serving on the Auction Committee and volunteering for events throughout the year.  Christie is always available when we need a last minute volunteer to make something happen and she constantly spreads the word about our fight against childhood cancer.

“I realized the last couple of months of Isabella’s life we never heard her kids play outside ever.  She kept her children inside, so that I didn’t have to hear other little girls play outside.”  -Erin Santos

View all past award recipients

Jersey Mike’s raises $135,000 for local pediatric cancer foundation during nationwide Month of Giving

37 Greater Charlotte area restaurants.  300+ smiling employees. 7,271 loaves of bread.  Countless paper sub bags.  Hundreds of community partners and long lines of volunteers, supporters and friends.  $135,000 RAISED.  Thank you for eating subs with us in March.  Thank you Jersey Mike’s Subs for your give back and make a difference attitude. It is these actions that create IMPACT.

Jersey Mike’s Subs joined forces with its generous customers throughout the Greater Charlotte area in March, to support the Isabella Santos Foundation (ISF) during the 8th Annual “Month of Giving” campaign.  The campaign raised an incredible $135,000 for ISF which will help fight rare pediatric cancer in the Charlotte region and beyond.  ISF recently committed $5 Million to establish The Isabella Santos Foundation Rare and Solid Tumor Program at Levine Children’s Hospital (LCH).  This program will oversee care for all solid tumors, rare tumors, MIBG therapy, and all related clinical and scientific research at LCH and it will be the first of its kind in the United States.

The month of fundraising culminated on March 28th with Jersey Mike’s nationwide “Day of Giving” where 100% of the sales, not just the profits, were donated to the local charities.

More than $6 million was raised by Jersey Mike’s around the country, impacting more than 170 organizations. Thank you for eating at Jersey Mike’s in March with us.  The funds raised for the Isabella Santos Foundation stay right here in the Charlotte community.  During times like these, we feel extremely humbled. Isabella has moved us and many others to take action for kids fighting cancer. Good things are happening because of Isabella’s legacy.  Thank you Queen City!

“Jersey Mike’s is very honored to be a partner with such a great organization like ISF who is making a huge impact on the fight against pediatric cancers.  It is truly amazing how many families the foundation touches and what a huge difference they are making in their lives.  We are so proud to be a small piece of all this and look forward to a long lasting relationship with ISF.” – Nick Smith, Jersey Mike’s Charlotte Franchise Owner

Charlotte Day of Giving Photos