CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Say it, and many in Charlotte immediately know her.
Not sure everyone fully understands her impact. Or that next weekend is a massive event in her memory.
Isabella Santos had an orphan cancer with 40% chance of survival, was diagnosed at the age of two, relapsed five times in five years and ultimately died at 7 years old.
She fought -- her entire family fought -- until 2012. She died soon after meeting actual princesses at Walt Disney World. I’ll never forget her dad Stuart calling hours after she passed. So many people loved Isabella, he said. He knew everyone would want to know. To this day her mom Erin recalls those moments with descriptive, hard truth.
"The last couple hours she was alive, I just held her hand and rubbed it," she says bluntly, through tears. "Even though she had started to turn gray, I never looked away from her. I watched her the whole time she died. I owed that to her."
Erin is not one to mince words.
"I just think if anyone had to watch what we watched there would be a cure tomorrow,” she said. “To watch your child’s skin slowly not be pink anymore… it’s your worst nightmare. We felt like we owed it to her to be there the whole time. And we were.”
Isabella’s family has started The Isabella Santos Foundation which has donated a million-plus dollars to neuroblastoma research.
Separately, this Foundation is currently building a million-dollar MIBG treatment room at Levine Children’s. (This is the room we had the exclusive live Facebook tour earlier this month. Watch here.
ISF is the same group that dreamed up the Cancer Messed With slogan. (Talked about that on September 3rd)
And, finally, ISF has a super well-done 5k, this year on Sept 29th. Thousands of us will be there.
Go here to register.
The spirit of one small child, making a major difference.
See you guys next weekend.
**Editor’s note: This is about one of #MollysKids, children WBTV Anchor Molly Grantham follows closely on her Facebook page. It was first published there, which is why it’s written in a personal way. For years Molly has followed hundreds of kids with uphill medical battles. Find this story and updates on all #MollysKids here.