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New Decade. New Look.

New decade. New look. ISF is evolving and growing.  Just like Isabella would be if she were still here. She would be thinking about her future, getting ready to drive, maybe even getting a job… she’d be growing up. 

And The Isabella Santos Foundation is too.  We are beyond excited about the direction ISF is heading. Every detail from our logo and the colors we use, to our mission and our giving program is evolving with intention and purpose behind every element.   

Hello new logo…

As we evolve as a foundation and honestly as a team, we are feeling a little emotional as we say goodbye to our little girl logo. She has been with us from the beginning and she has shown up in all that we have done to get to this point. 

Over 12 years ago we started with our first logo, an innocent and childlike stick girl, a simple representation of Isabella as she was first diagnosed with cancer. What started out as a stick figure little girl in which Isabella could easily draw and color, became a symbol of her legacy. 

In the beginning it was only about her.  That simple logo moved and shaped into a life of its own.  We have seen her running, drawing and perched up proud at every event and fundraiser and has occupied a front row spot on everything we would print.  Our little girl evolved to a ‘Girl on the World’ because that is how we saw Isabella.  And while It started with her, she is still changing the world. But as we grow, we have realized it has become about others. Others just like her.

It was Isabella’s dream to “Beat cancer, grow hair, and live my dreams.” ISF was founded in her name and dedicates itself to expanding its impact to others, so kids with rare cancers have a fighting chance. It has become about all of them. It is so they can run, draw and take a front row spot at their favorite event. Isabella is the legacy and will always be our little girl. In order to continue changing the world…she would want our focus to be on them.

Updated mission, updated purpose…

You never know you need a foundation like ISF, until it’s too late. As parents focus on fighting for their child, we are working to bring change.  

Over the past 12 years ISF has granted nearly $4 million toward expanding the scope of research and treatment, and supporting families dealing with cancer in a variety of ways.

  • $1.9M+ donated to Levine Children’s (tag)
  • $1.2M+ donated to National Pediatric Cancer Trials & Studies
  • $500K+ donated in Family Support

Our relentless pursuit to help kids Beat Cancer, Grow Hair and Live Their Dreams in Isabella’s honor requires tremendous support from the community and from our donors. Our vision is to inspire a 360 degree impact for kids fighting rare cancers… from diagnosis, to treatment and ultimately, to survivorship.

Introducing the Beat. Grow. Live. Targeted Giving Program which will give you the ability to directly support how you want to impact the fight against pediatric cancer. Whether you have a tie to a specific cancer, a strong feeling to help fund a trial in tribute of a loved one or simply believe in donating to give pediatric cancer lasting change. Whatever speaks to you, we want you to feel the impact of your donation.

Beat Cancer, Investing in Rare Pediatric Cancer Research, 70% of our Mission

Grow Hair, Improving Trials & Studies, 20% of our Mission

Live My Dreams, Supporting Families Affected by Cancer, 10% of our Mission

In Honor of You, DJM

Madison, I wish I could be naming all your new stuffed animals with you right now, so instead I just bought a flamingo and unicorn Squishmallow that I can hold every night. 

Madison was the kind of person that people meet once and are immediately connected to. She was a kid that impacted more in her 7 years than some people do in a lifetime. She had the sweetest voice you have ever heard. What I would do to hear, “Ms. Meredith, I love you”  just one more time.

Then I think about Laura (ironically my mom’s name), Riley (ironically my middle name), and Mickey who are the most loving, giving, selfless, and determined family I ever met in Charlotte. The kind of family I would want to have one day. How could this happen to them? 

It doesn’t make sense and we will never stop missing you, but we are taking action for you and your family. I’m on the ISF board and will be part of the team focusing on raising funds for osteosarcoma trials. We are going to make sure that we find a cure for kids like you with rare pediatric cancers — all in honor of you, DJ M. 🎶  

We used to dance to “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana every time she came into Seacrest Studios (we got some pretty incredible moves I must say so). A pretty perfect song for both of us, because there are no limits to how far I’ll go to fight for you and to find a cure for osteosarcoma. #TeamMadison and #TeamISF are behind you forever. 

Together we can help kids Beat Cancer, Grow Hair, and Live Their Dreams.

Love,

Meredith, ISF Board Member

Private Benefit Dinner Raises $24,050 for Pediatric Cancer Research

Carl Showalter, owner of Showalter Construction, decided to take action and create impact for pediatric cancer through his network of friends and coworkers. Carl hosted a private benefit dinner at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse inviting 30 of his friends to introduce them to ISF and our mission. An event that cost us ZERO dollars or coordination… we just showed up to enjoy great food, company and conversation. This private dinner brought in $24,050 for rare pediatric cancer research.

We are so thankful for Carl’s generosity and for all the gentlemen who were interested in hearing more about what we are doing to bring change for kids fighting cancer right here in Charlotte. An incredible evening!

What a great example of how donors can take initiative and create impact for kids fighting cancer. Host a small dinner party or simply a in-home cocktail hour with your network. Interested in talking more about private benefit events, contact Chrissy, ISF Developement Director.

It’s a New Decade Executive Director Dish

Here we are in a new year, a new decade!  I have to say, our team at ISF is ready for a fresh start.  2019 brought so many ups and downs for us, by the time the ball was dropping, I was left feeling a little unsettled from the year we just completed.  Each year we try so many different things to grab your attention. I made it a point to pull Isabella back a little and have us introduce you to what was going on in your backyard.  Our Mother’s Day series was our first attempt to really get to know the families at Levine and I was reminded of what a difficult job these Moms (and Dads) have on a daily basis. From this series, new friendships were developed and bonds were formed, as our staff became regulars in the hospital.  

September rolled around and I couldn’t be more proud of what we accomplished for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.  I have to say, hands down – the “Through My Eyes Series” that our beloved Rachel Wood took the lead on, changed many of you forever.  Our team too. I’m not quite sure she realized what she was taking on, as so many families were eager to tell their stories about what their world looks like as they fight for their lives.  The response was overwhelming, as each post affected people differently. We showed you different cancers, different ages, different prognosis and in the end… different outcomes. It has become a series we will do each year because it changed the way we do everything here at ISF.

To complete the month, we changed the look and feel of Isabella’s race in its 12th year, thanks to the help of Firebirds, Tito’s Vodka and Noda Brewing Company.  The addition of the brunch component was a homerun for all attendees.  I can’t tell you how exhilarating it was to hear all of the feedback from the participants.  A new buzz and excitement were present for the first time in a number of years and it could be felt by everyone!  The race was the perfect bow tied onto the month that we all worked so hard to complete. We continued to roll into the end of the year with another successful Pumpkin Charity Ball, raising more than ever from both events.

However, with the good… can oftentimes come with the bad.  And our last quarter at ISF shook us to the core. Three big losses in two months.  We attended too many funerals. It felt so unfair to watch Rachel devote her life to finding a cure for cancer, only to lose her Mother suddenly to Ovarian Cancer in November.   A Couple of our “Through My Eyes” campaign families, also took turns for the worse. Our Ewing’s Sarcoma warrior, Corey lost his battle with cancer in November and our sweet, cherished Osteosarcoma warrior, Madison lost her battle a couple days before Christmas.  These losses left our team stunned, wondering if what we were doing was all for nothing, if we couldn’t save these kids. I have to say, we pondered some big questions on the state of ISF after these monumental deaths.

So, for 2020 – things are changing.  And they are changing in a big way. Our 4th quarter donation tributes were at an all-time high and we realized that people want to kick cancer in the ass.  We are furious at this disease and find ourselves more determined than ever. We can’t let up, not even for a day.  If anything, we need to remain more focused than ever. For this reason, we are implementing a new mission that we hope will change outcomes forever.  It may have started with Isabella and our mission with Neuroblastoma, but now we have more children and more diseases to take on and we are ready. We have selected national tribute grants in the specialties of Ewing’s Sarcoma and Osteosarcoma in honor of Madison and Corey, that we will focus our efforts on in the beginning of 2020.  These initiatives will help kids nationwide and we won’t stop until we fulfill them. We will also be taking on specific efforts in the field of Rhabdomyosarcoma for our little warrior Merritt, as well as keeping a continued focus on Neuroblastoma for little Brinn, Max and of course in memory of Isabella.

We are going to allow each donation to be focused on what speaks to you, whether it be a specific child, diagnosis, or area of treatment.  Our continued partnership with Levine is progressing with the Rare and Solid Tumor Program, as we anticipate new details to share with you all.  Our look, our feel, our events, our staff and the families– you will see it all change and grow in 2020. We are all grown up and ready to kick cancer in the ass this year.  Needless to say, I think you may want to be around for this ride – because it’s going to be our biggest impact year to date. Stay tuned… we have lots to share in the coming months!

-Erin Santos, Isabella’s Mommy

2020 ISF INTENTIONS…

As you plan for 2020 we hope you include ISF as you set your intentions.   There are so many ways to give back and get involved to make a difference for kids fighting cancer.  We have so many good things happening and we can’t wait to share, but until then we wanted to share a few intentions at the top of our lists.  

Set It & Forget It!: Know you are supporting our mission regularly by signing up for monthly or quarterly giving.  Our recurring gift option lets you set your donation amount once… and forget it! 

Facebook Fundraiser: Facebook makes it ridiculously easy to fundraise for the cause of your choice to help create change.  We invite you to commit to creating a fundraiser for ISF to help impact pediatric cancer. Pick a day to celebrate a cause!

3 Wish Society: The 3 Wish Society is comprised of dynamic, committed and passionate donors who have the influence and resources to significantly impact the efforts of ISF. Donors receive invitations to mission related and VIP social events throughout the year, seats at the annual Pumpkin Ball in late October, receive special recognition via website, social media and at every ISF event. 

Ambassador: It’s simple… sign up, set up your own fundraising page/goal and tune into ISF social media channels for messages to share. ISF staff will provide support every step of the way including an invitation to a kick-off event, tool kit with everything that you need to be successful, gifts along the way as milestones are met and so much more. Engage your family, friends and entire network to raise funds for our vital mission.  Be sure to learn more about our partnership with our Ambassador program sponsor, OneBlood, and learn how donating blood and encouraging others to donate can raise funds in this fight.:

Volunteer: Feel good for doing good.  We have so many fantastic and loyal volunteers, our foundation could not function without each and every one.  Set your intention to volunteer this year by signing up for our ISF Volunteer List. 

Sponsor & Partner: Join us as a Sponsor or Community Partner to make an impact in 2020. It is a great opportunity to increase brand awareness and engage with people in the community all while providing a significant impact on pediatric cancer.

THANK YOU to the following businesses who have committed to be ISF Sustaining Sponsors for 2020: Jersey Mike’s, NoDa Brewing Company, OneBlood, Scoop Charlotte. And to all of our wonderful 2019 sponsors and community partners, we hope you will continue to make an impact with us in 2020.

All-In to Fight Cancer Donates $45,000 to Isabella Santos Foundation

Right before Christmas All-In to Fight Cancer quietly donated $45,000 to ISF! Their contribution allowed us to make the final impact in 2019 to Levine Children’s for the ISF Rare and Solid Tumor Program in the amount of $650,000! Year after year we have been both honored and blown away to be a beneficiary of their annual Texas Hold’em event here in Charlotte. This event was built to honor and continue one man’s legacy, Rob Ubank, who passed away from cancer. Because of this single annual event benefiting multiple local cancer organizations… Rob’s legacy now has fingerprints all of Charlotte.

Thank you All-In-To Fight Cancer for providing significant impact to not only our foundation, but so many other great organizations in our community like Go Jen Go! , ChemoCarsNovant Health, and The Paula Takacs Foundation for Sarcoma Research! We admire and appreciate your dedication, passion and hardwork!