I’m super excited to re-introduce you to Smarty Mom, Maitland Danner. For those of you loyal, longtime CSP readers, her name might sound familiar because she was a Smarty Mom waaaaay back in 2008 when little ol’ CSP was in its infancy (and so were many of our kids!!). Today, as development director for the Isabella Santos Foundation, she is just one piece in an amazing purple puzzle of dedicated teammates that is working to put an end to childhood cancer. I’ve been lucky to see this group in action, and let me tell you – their loyalty, positivity, creativity, and enthusiasm for what they do is MIND BLOWING.
I’ll let her explain more about her job, what the organization is doing today, and how you can be involved, but most importantly, I’ll first tell you to mark September 20 on your calendar. The ISF 5k and 10k Race for Kids Cancer. Many more details are here on their site. Read Maitland’s interview today, get inspired to run, volunteer, or just donate. And, as a major bonus, scroll all the way down and enter to win one of FIVE ISF race entries that are up for grabs. Yep, 5. Details below, but first, let me proudly re-introduce you to Maitland!
Smarty Mom Maitland Danner
Married to: Chad for 13 years
Children: Tyler (10) Hayes (8)
Years in Charlotte: 18
Hometown: Asheville, NC
‘Hood: Tax office says Marvin …post office tells me Waxhaw..I live 2 miles from the Charlotte city limit and 15 miles from Waxhaw. No clue. Ha!
Occupation: Development Director, The Isabella Santos Foundation
Alma Mater: Appalachian State University
How did you become involved with the Isabella Santos Foundation?
There is a lot to be said about being at the right place at the right time. I was literally sitting at my computer when I saw the post come across that they had a need. I had been following the story for a while and live in the same community that Isabella did. My kids go to the same school that she did and from day one- I felt incredibly drawn to her and to her story. I have always believed that there are no coincidences and truly- this has been a huge blessing to me in so many ways. Had I not seen it in those moments- I would have missed the opportunity completely.
What’s your role on the foundation?
I am the Development Director- which means I get the honor and privilege of doing a little and a lot of everything. I have experienced its growth, felt its impact, witnessed the funds raised, watched them be given back and most importantly, I am deeply connected and feel very passionate about the cause. There is such a strong group behind the scenes and each person brings their own huge strength to the table. And you know…it just works….really well.
What makes ISF different?
We keep it real. We are a passionate group of people with one vision in mind- to keep the momentum going in honor of Isabella. When it goes strong- we go stronger. When it slows- we go into overdrive. We work really hard to keep it fresh and new and fun- but still keep the cause in perspective. Every child is worth fighting for and if we do one thing to help another- it is worth everything. I don’t know that ISF is any different than other organizations out there trying to make a difference in honor of their loved one- we just happen to be a really loud and a really persistent group!
Tell us a little about the upcoming race. What’s new this year and what can runners and spectators expect?
This is SUCH a fun day! Plain and Simple. Take your typical 5K… add a little salt, some pepper, a 10K, a fun run, some characters, a ridiculous auction and there you have it! We want YOU to come back year after year and that is our ultimate goal. You can go to any 5K- but we want to make sure that this one is on the TOP of your list! There is something for everyone. If you run- you can choose between a 5k, a 10K or just a mile. We are going high tech this year with lots of new features so be sure to come check it out! Can’t come? No problem- you can be a phantom runner and support from your couch!
If you don’t run- just come shop. We have an auction and raffle that is unreal.
A LOT…and I mean A LOT of hard work goes into this event from so many dedicated people- so if you haven’t attended, you are missing out. Come join us! …but make sure to wear PURPLE! Also- Be on the lookout for some “super” sightings. We heard Spiderman and Batman are registered to run…hmmmm. No telling who may show up!
The ISF 5k and 10k is known for its FABULOUS post-race festivities. Truly one of the best family events in town. What do you have planned for this year?
As I mentioned before, the Silent Auction and Raffle are amazing! A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! J It’s awesome. Truly. You can bid against each other now that it is online and not even know which makes it so fun! The packages are amazing and seriously- something for everyone and at every price point. In addition – we have a TON of raffles. This is another fun way for people to participate- even our little supporters.
And while you are salivating on all of the items to choose from, your kids can chill with Sir Purr, Chubby from The Checkers, The Top Cats, The Checkmates and hang out in the Kids Zone complete with photo booths, bounce houses, crafts, games and more. It’s an awesome day!
We’ve been seeing #milliondollarmission all over the place with the ISF Foundation. Tell us a little more about that.
ISF is in year #7. It’s hard to believe and really crazy to think where this little “foundation” has come. Over the past 6 years- the efforts, along with MANY dedicated supporters have helped ISF raise nearly 700K. What?!?!?! We sat down in January and said what can we do to make this year amazing?? We realized where ISF started- where ISF is today – and where ISF could possibly go. Put people in a room with strong personalities and great ideas…and we decided we would GO BIG! Why not, right?? We need to make sure that Isabella’s foundation continues to thrive because it is exactly what she would want. So this year- we hope to raise enough to cross that line and reach the unimaginable goal of one million TOTAL dollars raised to date. With this group- and our incredible supporters- we know we can do it if we set our mind to it! #milliondollarmission!
Are you all still looking for volunteers for the race? Auction items? If so, how can someone find out how to get involved?
Our FB Page is a great resource to find out all things ISF. We have an awesome newsletter that keeps our happenings up to date and really, just reach out to us and let us know how YOU want to help! It takes an army to put on our event- so yes, VOLUNTEERS are always welcome, auction items will never be turned down and to get involved- you can email us at email@example.com at any time and let us know what you want to contribute! We will appreciate it ALL! Promise.
Now for the fun stuff…
Favorite superhero and why. Green Lantern…Hello? Ryan Reynolds. Duh!
JK- I don’t really have a favorite superhero, which you would assume- being a mom of boys. Maybe it’s that I can’t pick just one? I would, however, absolutely LOVE to have a bunch of super powers. Flying, Time Travel (past and future), Teleportation, Invisibility…I mean really- how cool would that be?
Family’s favorite restaurant in Charlotte? …hmmm, so here’s the real deal:
My 10 year old? Subway- any day of the week
My 8 year old? Sushi –any day of the week
My husband? A Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich – any day of the week (for real)
Me? I am a complete foodie and absolutely LOVE to cook, but my favorite restaurant in Charlotte would have to be BRICKTOPS. But, as you can see- we don’t get there too often with those other awesome preferences.
So basically- we end up at McAlisters.…Always.
If you had one day with no schedules, no carpools, no work, how would you spend it? I would turn off my phone (Ha- jk, who really does that?)…and either soak in some serious retail therapy by myself OR hang out on Lake Norman and soak in some time with my family. It is a place that truly relaxes me and nothing beats a boat ride at sunset!
Favorite vacation spot for the family? Aside from Lake Norman- The past few years we have gone to a really cool campsite in Bryson City with 7-8 other families. It is a private area, right next to the river, where each family has their own cabin, their own grill and the kids can run all over. You spend all day hiking and all night by the campfire…. and then…here is the BEST part- you can take a hot shower! Yes! Definitely, my kind of camping. In fact I think there is a name for us… “LAMPERS”… luxury campers. Spot on! Don’t Judge. Very fun!
Favorite date night spot? Sushi for sure… Jade in Ballantyne is probably our favorite!
Guilty pleasure? A really good glass of red wine and air popped popcorn. I can be a simple girl and for anyone who knows me- I have this routine down to a science. I could break up with all sweets forever…but please don’t ever take this from me.
Words to live by? Always be yourself unless you can be Batman. Then…you should ALWAYS be Batman.
Smarty Giveaway: Five ISF 5k or 10k Registrations
You could win a free ISF 5k or 10k registration – your choice – valued at up to $40! Here’s what you’ve gotta do:
1. Like CSP and ISF on Facebook.
2. Share this on your Facebook and tag three friends who you want to call out to run the race with you. (If you’re not on Facebook, please tell us in the Comments below!)
3. Tell us in the comment section below what superhero power you would use to cure kids’ cancer.
That’s it! Five winners will be announced Thursday, September 11, in our newsletter so make sure you’re a newsletter subscriber!