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Testing the Limits of the Human Heart

“The real purpose of running isn’t to win a race.  It’s to test the limits of the human heart.” – Bill Bowerman, track and field coach and co-founder of Nike, Inc.

Geo Neto, Isabella’s Dream Team

Geo Neto, a new member to the ISF Dream Team, knows what it feels like to test the human heart.  In 1988 at the age of 14, he was diagnosed with ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia).  He knew this diagnosis wasn’t good –  but he was young, naïve, and didn’t truly understand what would happen to him.  30 years ago, information on ALL wasn’t as readily available.  He was sick.  He was scared.  And it scared his entire family – parents, siblings, uncles, and grandparents.  Everyone felt the pain, fighting together to save Geo.

Geo fought for his life and he has gotten to the other side.  Through this journey, he has learned how important it is to remain healthy, so he challenges himself to stay active.  In 2017, he ran the Isabella Santos Foundation 10K.  At the race, he learned more about ISF and the mission of raising funds and awareness for pediatric cancer.  As he was setting his fitness goals for this year, he was also motivated to make a difference in our Charlotte community.  So, he joined the ISF Dream Team.   

Geo is making a difference . . . running, raising funds for pediatric cancer, and honoring those who are battling cancer.  His human heart is also honoring his family. “There is nothing that I can do that will ever thank them enough for everything that they did for me” when I was fighting for my life.

What an honor, Geo, to have you as a part of our ISF family.

Let’s all put our hearts together and support Geo.  Please click here to make a donation to his ISF First Giving page.

ISF Dream Team

The ISF Dream Team, created in 2014, is a running group that assists you in training to run the race of your dreams.  You can train for a 5k, 10k, half marathon, half marathon relay, full marathon relay, or a full marathon.  You are provided a training schedule, invited to group runs, and inspired by a phenomenal team of people.  Not only will you meet a dynamic group of people, but you will also be inspired through your friends and family as they support you through the training.  The ISF Dream Team has raised over $400,000 to date, with the funds contributing to our local Charlotte community.  If you want to join the ISF Dream Team, we would love to hear from you.  Please email us at info@isabellasantosfoundation.org.

Kids Helping Kids

Addison Ficker, Isabella’s Dream Team

Blow out some candles and have a piece of cake!  It’s our youngest Dream Team member’s birthday!  Happy 12th Birthday Addison! 

What an honor to have Addison as a part of the ISF Dream Team.  She started running in 3rd grade through her elementary school.  Ever since, she has participated in several 5K races, pushing herself to beat her previous time.

Addison and her family volunteered at the ISF 5K/10K race last year, and they were amazed at how ISF was making a difference in our Charlotte community.  During this same time, a dear family friend, Noah Hays (#noahstrong), was battling cancer after being diagnosed at the age of 15.  Witnessing this cancer fight was tough for Addison, and she wanted to find a way to help with pediatric cancer.  

Addison learned about the ISF Dream Team and she thought this was a perfect fit for her to run and give back.  The Dream Team combines her love of running and helping others.  She wants to do whatever she can to help raise money because “no one deserves to have to go through what he (Noah) went through.”

Addison is training for the ISF 10K on September 29th.  Through her training, she has received support from friends and family through donations.  She and her friends recently raised over $100 at a neighborhood lemonade stand they organized.  Her family also hosted a hot dog cookout that raised over $500.  

We are truly amazed at your dedication Addison!  Happy Birthday from the Isabella Santos Foundation and the ISF Dream Team.

Inspired to help support Addison?  Click here to make a donation to her fundraising page.  

ISF Dream Team

The ISF Dream Team, created in 2014, is a running group that assists you in training to run the race of your dreams.  You can train for a 5k, 10k, half marathon, half marathon relay, full marathon relay, or a full marathon.  You are provided a training schedule, invited to group runs, and inspired by a phenomenal team of people.  Not only will you meet a dynamic group of people, but you will also be inspired through your friends and family as they support you through the training.  The ISF Dream Team has raised over $400,000 to date, with the funds contributing to our local Charlotte pediatric cancer community.  If you want to join the ISF Dream Team, we would love to hear from you.  Please email us at info@isabellasantosfoundation.org.

The “C” Word

Ashley & Brian, Isabella’s Dream Team

The “C” word.  Cancer.  All of us have been affected by cancer . . . . someway, somehow in our lives.  It could be your best friend.  Your neighbor.  Your colleague.  Your mom.  Your brother.  Your wife. Your child.  Regardless of how you have been affected by the “C” word in your life, it isn’t easy.

Ashley Allred has been affected by cancer in her life.  Her first grade teacher was diagnosed with cancer.  Her second grade teacher was diagnosed with breast cancer and unfortunately lost her battle when she was in third grade.  Her mom was diagnosed with breast cancer.  And then Ashley became a teacher herself… her student was diagnosed with cancer.  It has affected Ashley too many times to count.  She decided it was time to find a way to give back and help find a cure.

Ashley found out about the Isabella Santos Foundation through her elementary school student.  Not only was it a way to support her student, but she could also help raise awareness and funds for pediatric cancer. She joined the Isabella’s Dream Team in 2017, training to run a half marathon while raising money for pediatric cancer.  Now, she is helping lead the ISF Dream Team, training to run another race, raising money for pediatric cancer through her connections and creative partnerships, and she is making a difference.  

If you want to honor someone in your life who has been affected by cancer, you can help make a difference too.  It’s not too late to join the Dream Team. 

ISF Dream Team

The ISF Dream Team, created in 2014, is a running group that assists you in training to run the race of your dreams.  You can train for a 5k, 10k, half marathon, half marathon relay, full marathon relay, or a full marathon.  You are provided a training schedule, invited to group runs, and inspired by a phenomenal team of people.  Not only will you meet a dynamic group of people, but you will also be inspired through your friends and family as they support you through the training.  The ISF Dream Team has raised over $400,000 to date, with the funds contributing to our local Charlotte pediatric cancer community.  If you want to join the ISF Dream Team, we would love to hear from you.  Please email us at info@isabellasantosfoundation.org.

We Will Train Together. Run Together.

Keith & Jackson, Dream Team Week #2

The Isabella Santos Foundation Dream Team, a Charlotte running group, has officially started training for 2018.  Members of our team run with purpose and heart… we always enjoy hearing about why they run, what inspires them and their goals to get them to the finish line.  When it kicked off a few weeks ago, we learned that two of our Dream Team members set a goal together for this year.  Jackson Lowry, at age 13, accomplished his second half marathon last year with a personal record time.  Keith Brent accomplished his third half marathon since training with the ISF Dream Team.  As they both were looking back on their accomplishments, they were trying to decide what was their next dream.  Jackson admires Keith, and he said “one day I want to be able to run a full marathon.”  Keith without hesitation said “I will do it with you.  You pick the race, we will train together.  Run it together.” 

And the bond was created. They have set their 2018 goal – the Rock ‘N Roll Savannah Full Marathon in November.  Training is officially underway.  This past Saturday, they ran 8 miles in step together as they planned out their training schedule for the upcoming week.  Daily texts, running together, and high fives – – they keep each other motivated.  They are already talking about how excited they are going to be when they cross that finish line together on November 3rd.  They have 108 days to finish their training, and they do it all for Isabella and other kids fighting cancer.

These goals and uncommon bonds are what inspires us at the foundation!

A little about Jackson…

Jackson Lowry, at age 12, started running with the ISF Dream Team in Summer of 2016.  When he became diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in November 2015, he understood how it felt to be diagnosed with a disease that had no cure. He was determined to not let his diabetes stop him from following his dreams.  He has trained with the ISF Dream Team, accomplishing several races including 2 half marathons.  This year, he is training for his very first full marathon while raising money for the Isabella Santos Foundation.  Jackson’s mission in life is to inspire more kids to give back.  You can support Jackson and cheer him on by making a donation to his fundraising efforts.

And Keith who has been supporting ISF since the beginning…

Keith Brent, and his wife Christine, both personally knew Isabella Santos.  When ISF was formed in 2007, they immediately became involved with the foundation.  Three years ago, Keith joined the ISF Dream Team.  Keith loves the challenge and fitness benefits of running, all while raising money in memory of Isabella.  Keith and Christine Brent have raised over $14,000 through the ISF Dream Team, directly crushing cancer in the Charlotte community.  Keith has accomplished three half marathons while being a part of the ISF Dream Team, and his goal for 2018 is to complete a full marathon.  You can support Keith and high five him on by making a donation on his fundraising efforts.  

ISF Dream Team

The ISF Dream Team, created in 2014, is a running group that assists you in training to run the race of your dreams.  You can train for a 5k, 10k, half marathon, half marathon relay, full marathon relay, or a full marathon.  You are provided a training schedule, invited to group runs, and inspired by a phenomenal team of people.  Not only will you meet a dynamic group of people, but you will also be inspired through your friends and family as they support you through the training.  The ISF Dream Team has raised over $400,000 to date, with the funds contributing to our local Charlotte community.  If you want to join the ISF Dream Team, we would love to hear from you.  Please email us at info@isabellasantosfoundation.org.

Fighting a Disease

Jackson, 2016 Charlotte Half Marathon

Written by Tammy Lowry, Jackson’s Mom
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At the age of 12, my son Jackson Lowry decided to join the Isabella Santos Foundation Dream Team.  The Dream Team trains together as a group to run a half marathon, supporting each other and raising funds for ISF and pediatric cancer.  November 2016 was his first half marathon, and he did a phenomenal job.  He politely reminds me every day that he beat me, and he is going to beat me again this year.  His motivation might be to beat his mother in a half marathon, but the biggest joy I embrace is how he is learning about fundraising and supporting our community when there are kids a little less fortunate.  But then something happens that reminds me – – he knows what that is like.  He knows how it is to fight a disease.  He has Type 1 Diabetes, and it haunts us when we least expect it.
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Last Saturday was a critical part of our half marathon training.  We were meeting for a group run that is 10 miles of the actual race course.  Unfortunately, Jackson had a cross country meet that morning with his middle school – so we both did not attend the group run.   Instead, we got up on Sunday and hit the streets at 7:45am to accomplish this run together.  There is a part of the half marathon course that is a huge hill on Providence Road.  Jackson and I both agreed that once we run that, we are golden.
 XXX
We start off with our run, and he is in high spirits.  He is directing me which route to go, which streets to run on.  He was so pumped.  We pull that hill on Providence Road and when we reached the top he started to slow down.  Now he fell behind me in pace.  We were only at 3 miles – – we had a long ways to go.  I kept looking back at him to see what was going on, and I looped back around.  His blood sugar dropped significantly and he was having a diabetic attack.  I pulled out a bag of energy beans because that is all I had on me at the time.  He ate the entire bag and felt better immediately.  But when you deal with blood sugar highs and lows – it affects your attitude, your mood, and your motivation.  He lost all motivation after his attack.
 XXX
As he looked at me completely wiped out, he told me to go ahead and run.  I was hesitant at first.  I ran ahead of him and I would circle back around to see how he was doing.  Then I finally kept on running but talked to him on the phone as I completed my 10 miles.  He walked it behind me, but he kept going.
 XXX
The entire time I thought – – what is he going to say to me when we meet back at my car?  Will he be defeated?  Will he be upset?  How do I handle this as his mom?  I certainly know that you have good runs and bad runs, but will he understand that?  He is only 13 years old.
 XXX
We get back to the car and he looks at me and says, “I will get it next time.”  Yes you will Jackson, yes you will.  This weekend, we have an 8 mile run, and I know he will do it.  His heart is full of motivation and he won’t quit.
– Tammy Lowry, Jackson’s Mom