Lemonade legacy

Local children raise money in memory of Isabella Santos

by Josh Whitener

Will and Carter Tobin sold lemonade and cookies recently in their Waxhaw neighborhood to raise money for the Isabella Santos Foundation. Isabella died recently from pediatric cancer. Photo courtesy of Tobin family


WAXHAW – Though seven-year-old Isabella Santos lost her battle with cancer two weeks ago, the community hasn’t stopped raising money in her name to fight pediatric cancer.

That’s what brought two Waxhaw children out to the street Friday, June 6, selling lemonade and cookies for the Isabella Santos Foundation. From 4 to 7 p.m., brother and sister Will and Carter Tobin, ages 5 and 9, sold fresh cookies and lemonade to family, friends and neighbors, drawing in a total of $354 for the foundation. And their mother, Ashley Tobin, said another $70 or so in donations is coming from those who couldn’t make the event.

The family braved the heat as dozens of community members flocked to the Tobins’ yard for a cup of cold lemonade and homemade cookies. There was no charge for the sweet treats, but the family did ask customers to donate money, all of which went to the foundation. Though the Tobin family never met Isabella, they were touched by her story and wanted to do something to help her.

“We’d kind of followed her story for a while and the kids have been praying for her,” their mom said. “We decided to do (the fundraiser) before she passed away.”

But the day after the kids started passing out flyers for the lemonade and cookie stand, the family heard the sad news – Isabella had lost her battle with cancer. Determined to support her cause, the family decided to proceed with the fundraiser as planned and donate the money to the foundation, which will continue working to fight pediatric cancer.

Isabella’s family and friends started the nonprofit after she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma (a malignant tumor that develops from nerve tissue) at age 2. The foundation has raised money for neuroblastoma research while also supporting programs like the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which grants the wishes of sick children, and the Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte, which reaches out to families with children in local hospitals.

The Tobins have previously worked with the Ronald McDonald House and are always looking for ways to teach their children about giving back.

“I feel like a lot of kids, especially even mine, are given things just to be given things and don’t really know to appreciate what they have,” their mom said. “A good opportunity to learn about that is to be exposed to someone going through cancer or a homeless person and reach out to them.”

The family plans to continue to help the community this summer by working with the Ronald McDonald House and Bright Blessings, an organization that throws birthday parties for homeless children.

“There’s been a lot of talking this summer about doing for others before doing for yourself,” Ashley Tobin said. “My husband and I are making an effort to try to do something in the community. We have more free time to do stuff over the summer, so this is the perfect time (to start).”

For more information on the Isabella Santos Foundation, visit www.isabellasantosfoundation.com.

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