News

Top 10 Reasons To Attend
the 2018 All-In to Fight Cancer
Texas Hold’em fundraiser
Thursday, March 8

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1.    The Emcee. Again this year, Chris Rozak from 106.5 The End will get the party started and keep the ball rolling.

2.    The Fashion. Your ticket garners you a free 2018 All-In T-shirt. You’re welcome!

3.    The Tunes. Melonbelly and Whisky Dollars will be performing live!

4.    The Bling. Raffle winners can walk out with a brand new iPhoneX. Or an Apple Watch. Or other goodies from our friends at Xceleration and Mountain Khakis. Or -- well you get the point. But you have to attend to win.

5.    The Dogs. Nah, not the canine kind. We’re talking hand-crafted “dogs” and other delectable delights from our friends at JJ’s Red Hots.

6.    The Real Deal! Play like a pro on brand new tables provided by our sponsor, SE Sports and Entertainment. (Bet you didn’t see that coming!)

7.    Class It Up. You’ll be rubbing shoulders with some of the most fun - and generous - folks around!

8.    Get Social. Thanks to TapSnap Charlotte, you’ll have a place to ham it up, post it up, and who knows? You could go viral!

9.    Do Good, Feel Even Better!. This year’s event supports “four of a kind” - the GoJenGo Foundation, the Isabella Santos Foundation, the Paula Takacs Foundation for Sarcoma Research, and Novant Health Cancer Care Nurse Navigators.

10.    A First-Place Trophy! Hey, it could happen!

Tickets to the 8th Annual All-In to Fight Cancer Texas Hold-em fundraiser are still available. Get yours here.

"All" About Our Beneficiary: The GoJenGo Foundation

All-In to Fight Cancer proudly supports the GoJenGo Foundation, a non-profit institution dedicated to providing financial assistance and emotional support to individuals and families battling breast cancer in the Carolinas. We recently met with Joe Pagani, a GJG founder, board member, and Jen’s husband.

Tell me the story behind the GoJenGo Foundation. We were first diagnosed in August 2007. Jen was a young mother – our son Luka was just two months old – when we learned she had an uncommon and aggressive type of breast cancer. That was the bad part, but the good part was that we were blessed with a huge support network of friends and well-wishers. As Jen went to chemo every Tuesday, however, she realized that not everyone had the support we did. She met women who were struggling financially and emotionally. For them, battling cancer meant choosing between groceries and co-pays, utilities and meds. Jen began sharing some of the gifts we received – grocery cards, for example – with those women, realizing that we could become the conduit between generous people who want to help and people who need help the most.

How has GJG evolved? In the beginning, GJG was largely word of mouth. I remember once getting a phone call from a Charlotte woman undergoing cancer treatment who was unable to pay her power bill. To cut costs, she had turned off her heat and was relying on an electric heating pad to stay warm. GJG didn’t have a board or any committees at that time. It was just me. I called the power company, clicked through the automated system, and paid her past due bills and estimated future bills myself. We’ve grown considerably since then. Our board and committees work with some 50 families every month. We also have two major annual fundraisers – RunJenRun in March and CheersJenCheers – an afternoon event with a raffle, silent auction, live auction, music, and other family-friendly (and dog-friendly!) events.

How did GJG begin working with All-In to Fight Cancer? Although we have two annual fundraisers, our commitment to the cancer community is 365 days a year. I’ve known the folks at All-In ever since they were founded, and recognizing the gap we were filling here in the community, they were among the first to begin supporting GJG.

How do you put All-In donations to use? Our whole purpose is to allow patients (and families) to focus on what is most important – fighting cancer – without the distraction of paying bills, arranging transportation, or keeping their homes. On average, the individuals and families we work with only need assistance for two or three months. Some need it longer, but most just need a helping hand to stay on an even keel during treatment. All-In’s donations are crucial, allowing us to support as many as 15-20 families a month.

What do you appreciate most about the work you’re able to do with GJG? GoJenGo is my wife’s legacy. Always caring, always giving, never putting herself first, Jen identified this need and helped found GoJenGo. Her kindness and generosity continues on within GoJenGo.

What’s next for GJG? To ensure that we’re able to fill the growing community needs, we’re looking for more long-term financial commitments from donors like the Charlotte Checkers, who have generously agreed to a 10-year commitment. In addition, we’re busily planning for our next fundraiser – CheersJenCheer. This year, we’ll be at Triple C Brewery, October 23, from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m.

How can people support GJG? Volunteers are the backbone of our organizations. Every dime that comes in, goes right back out to survivors and their families. For that to happen, we need a whole lot of dedicated, generous people, so I’m always encouraging people to go to our website and volunteer. And, tickets are now on sale for CheersJenCheers. We’d love to see a record turnout this October. Last year, the event raised $30,000. This year, we’ve set our sights on $50,000.

"All" About Our Beneficiary: The Isabella Santos Foundation

All-In to Fight Cancer is proud to support the Isabella Santos Foundation, a Charlotte-based 501 (c)(3) furthering advances in neuroblastoma research and supporting pediatric cancer causes. We recently were honored with the opportunity to meet with Erin Santos, ISF’s president and executive director, and Isabella’s mom.

 

Tell me the story behind the Isabella Santos Foundation.

Our journey began when my daughter, Isabella was diagnosed with neuroblastoma back in 2007. She was only two. The survival rate was less than 40%, plummeting to less than 5% once a child relapses. We were devastated – in ways people can and I hope, cannot, imagine. ISF was initially established to help our family through those difficult days, but as “Ib” defied the odds – for nearly five years – the ISF mission became one of research. Ib relapsed five different times, enduring countless horrible treatments, before passing away in 2012.  ISF continues, though, knowing that new drugs and therapies are on the horizon. We want to ensure other families do not have to endure this horrific loss.

How has ISF evolved?

That first year, friends organized a 5K run. We were thrilled when about 150 people showed up, and we raised about $7,000. Now, while we remain a grassroots, volunteer-reliant nonprofit, ISF is the beneficiary of fundraisers 12 months a year, including bake sales, tri-athlons, etc.. The 5K, however, remains our marquee event. Last year’s 5K for Kids Cancer included about 3,000 participants, helping us raise a total of $600,000 in 2015, and we’re looking to raise that number substantially in 2016. Next month, we’ll celebrate our ninth ISF run – which has evolved to include a 10K and Fun Run. We’re expecting 4,000 participants and aiming to set another record, boosting our annual fundraising to $750,000.

How did ISF begin working with All-In to Fight Cancer?

The father of one of Isabella’s classmates, Chris Wilcox, is on our Board, as well as Susie Ford, of NoDa Brewery. They made the introduction, recognizing that All-In did not yet have a beneficiary focusing on pediatric cancer. I think it was meant to be.

How do you put All-In donations to use? 

I’m so glad you asked! ISF identified a doctor in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Giselle Sholler, who runs a lab focused on identifying new neuroblastoma therapies, including low risk, low side-effect treatments for children in remission. Her trials, which we’ve been able to support, are available in a network of 25 universities and children’s hospitals nationwide, including here in Charlotte.

What do you appreciate most about the work you’re able to do with ISF?

Even though my Ib passed away, I’m gratified to be taking on the hard work for other neuroblastoma families here in Charlotte. It’s super rewarding to know that the harder we work, the more likely it is that these kids will have a fighting chance. Through her passing, it’s the best gift Isabella could possibly give.

What’s next for ISF?

We are full steam ahead for 9th Annual Isabella Santos Foundation 5K For Kids Cancer, 10K and 1 Mile Fun Run on September 24, and this year, we want to blow people away more than ever before – with a silent auction, a kid zone, and more. In the immediate future, we’ve also got Coffee For A Cure later this month, a triathlon in October, and in November, an American Girl Tea Party [LINK?]. We’re on course for raising $750,000 this year, but our ultimate goal is a million dollars a year. I think we’ll be there in no time.

How can people support ISF?

The best way is to head to www.5Kkforkidscancer.com and register for our September event. But you can also go to Facebook or just email us at info@isabellasantosfoundation.org. And, if you’ve got your own event ideas, let us know, and we’ll do whatever we can to support your efforts.

In addition, we’re still recruiting for Isabella’s Dream Team. We’ve already got over 140 individuals committed to running a half marathon in November. We provide the coach, motivation, purpose, camaradie, and of course, that all important ISF “swag.” We’d love to have more runners join us – both at the half marathon, and of course, at the All-In to Fight Cancer Texas Hold’em fundraiser in March!

 

"All" About Our Beneficiary: 24 Hours of Booty

All-In to Fight Cancer is a proud supporter of 24 Hours of Booty, a Charlotte-based nonprofit organization that holds 24-hour cycling fundraisers to support patient navigation and survivorship programs locally and nationally. We recently sat down with Mallory Walsh, executive director, to learn more.

First, do you get a lot of questions about the name -- “24 Hours of Booty”? 

Yes – and we have a good answer! Our founder, Spencer Leuders, has long been an avid cyclist and cancer fundraiser. Fifteen years ago, when he was inspired to create a local fundraising event, he decided to do something a little outrageous, riding for 24 hours on Charlotte’s “Booty Loop” – a popular route for joggers and cyclists in the Myers Park neighborhood. The name was a natural – and a natural conversation-starter, as Spencer went door-to-door, asking neighbors to keep their porch lights on as he rode.

What is 24 Hours of Booty today? 

We’re a nonprofit organization dedicated to 1) bringing the cancer community together through cycling events in Charlotte, Indianapolis, and Columbia, Maryland, and 2) supporting organizations that focus on the “what now?” part of a cancer survivor’s journey.

How does 24 Hours of Booty put All-In donations to use? 

Ever since we were founded, our focus has been on helping cancer patients prepare for and navigate that unexpected stage after treatment – the stage where they’re gone through the battle, but now, their whole world is different. Most recently, the funds from All-In to Fight Cancer go to Levine Cancer Institute’s integrative oncology programs for cancer patients in remission. These programs run the gamut from healing arts, music therapy, integrated treatment – all of which aid and speed recovery in ways unexpected in not.

What’s next for 24 Hours of Booty? 

We support quite a few local organizations – including GoJenGo! Foundation, the Keep Pounding Fund, and the Hendrick Marrow Program --  but this year, for the first time ever, we’re providing support to Levine Children’s Hospital. The needs of pediatric cancer survivors are specific – and can be heart-breakingly different from adults. This is big step for us – and for the local cancer community.

From an event perspective, we just wrapped up our Indianapolis cycling fundraiser, and we have two other events right around the corner. We’ll be back to the “Booty Loop” in Charlotte July 29 and 30. And in August, we’ll return to Columbia, Maryland for another cycling event.

How can people support 24 Hours of Booty? 

That one’s easy! First, of course, support All-In to Fight Cancer! Then, come to one of our events! People are always surprised at how much fun these events are – whether you’re a spectator, a volunteer, a competitive hard-driving cyclist, or someone like me, who just wants to cruise around for 30 minutes or so!

What do you appreciate most about 24 Hours of Booty? 

There are countless stories about how we’ve been able to bring the community together – people who thought they were all alone or “the only ones,” and at one of our events were able to find kindred spirits and supporters. It’s a real honor to be a part of this.

24 Hours of Booty is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit charity located in Charlotte that provides extraordinary 24-hour cycling events that are safe, fun and open to all levels of cycling ability. Its purpose is to increase public awareness, funds and support for organizations dedicated to cancer navigation and survivorship. For more information, call 704-365-4417 or visit http://www.24hoursofbooty.org.