Isabella Santos Foundation Women’s Event Raises Over $190,000 Benefitting 115 Kids Battling Rare Cancers

Written by Rachel Wood, Director of Marketing 

Two inspirational mornings, 600 women (and a few men!), a sea of purple-hued dresses, and a community of women standing with us, helped make the Isabella Santos Foundation ‘In The Company of Women’ Fundraising Breakfast extraordinary. With the support of so many, ISF’s women’s event raised $190,410. These funds will provide 115 kids battling rare cancers the opportunity to receive precision medicine. What a phenomenal way to round out Women’s History Month!

Hosted at Carmel Country Club, ‘In the Company of Women was created to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8th and what would have been our founder, Isabella’s, 17th birthday on March 9th. This unique fundraising breakfast was emceed by Page Fehling and featured a panel of 6 influential Charlotte women each morning, who talked about what inspires their work in their community. Panelists included: Sydney Cummings, Michelle Icard, Ohavia Phillips, Colleen Odegaard, Pam Stowe, Alyssa, Wilen, Whitley Adkins, Kristin Hayes, Lindsey Regan Thorne, Cris Agurcia, Jacinda Jacobs, and Tera Black.

Over breakfast and mimosas, attendees not only had the chance to hear from the featured panel of women, but also had the opportunity to learn more about the inspiration behind the foundation, Isabella, and what all ISF has accomplished as we move through our 15th anniversary year. The event ended with a discussion of the true meaning behind the mornings- funding precision medicine for kids battling rare cancers.

We were honored to have 10 year old neuroblastoma warrior, Eli, and his mom join us for one of the mornings. Eli travels from his home state of Wisconsin to be treated by Dr. Giselle Sholler under the Isabella Santos Foundation Rare & Solid Tumor Program at Atrium Health Levine Children’s. With his treatment options few and far between, Eli recently had genomic sequencing performed on his tumor, generating data that will provide insights on what his cancer may or may not respond to. This is called precision medicine, not covered under insurance, and creates personalized treatment plans for a child.

The Isabella Santos Foundation has committed to funding every single child being treated under the Isabella Santos Foundation Rare & Solid Tumor Program to have their tumor sequenced for precision medicine. These kids deserve more hope and better outcomes. The support from and success of this event is helping us do just that.

“After nearly six years of continued relapses and progressions, and traveling to multiple hospitals across the country in hopes of finding the right trial to cure our son’s cancer, it is now painfully obvious that Eli’s cancer does not respond to the conventional treatments, trials, and protocols currently available to neuroblastoma.  We are incredibly thankful that Dr. Sholler and her team are providing hope and options to patients and families through precision medicine.  Studying patient-specific cancer allows doctors to better understand what an individual’s disease may and may not respond to, while minimizing guesswork and eliminating treatments that would not be beneficial.  Precision medicine provides a lot of hope to families like ours who have experienced so many years of disappointment and defeat. It is important to us to give our son the best shot at beating this ugly disease and we are beyond grateful to have this chance.”  -Jamie Hansen, Mom to Eli

Special thanks to all our volunteers who helped make these mornings so special. And, of course, to our lovely panelists and attendees. Thank you for choosing to spend your morning with ISF and making a difference for pediatric cancer. Your support means everything to us.

Thank you to our event sponsors