Erin Santos, executive director of the Isabella Santos Foundation (ISF) has received the “ABC Larry Frederick Award” from America’s Blood Centers (ABC) for her commitment to raising awareness of the need for blood donation.

I am incredibly honored to receive this recognition from America’s Blood Centers,” said Erin Santos, executive director and president of the Isabella Santos Foundation. “Community Blood Center of the Carolinas has been near and dear to our hearts since Isabella received numerous blood and platelet transfusions to help her stay strong and fight neuroblastoma. I am deeply committed to raising awareness about the importance of platelet and blood donation to honor Isabella’s legacy and to support local patients who need these lifesaving products.

Santos was presented the award on Monday, March 25 at the ABC Awards of Excellence ceremony in Arlington, Va. The award honors an individual for their community leadership in raising awareness of the need for blood donation. It is named after Larry Frederick, a former Oakland, Calif. police officer who was struck by a DUI driver and received 110 units of blood and nine major surgeries to repair extensive injuries. He has made it his personal mission to thank blood donors and help raise awareness of the need for blood through a nationwide blood drive called Life Across America. America’s Blood Centers created this award to honor the advocacy work of Frederick and all the others who support its mission.

In addition to Erin Santos being a regular platelet donor and a donor advocate, ISF hosts an annual blood and platelet drive with Community Blood Center of the Carolinas in memory of her daughter, Isabella Santos, and to support local patients. Santos was also the first official platelet donor at CBCC’s newest donation center that is named in Isabella’s honor. Isabella Santos passed away at age seven from a five-year battle with neuroblastoma, a rare type of pediatric cancer. During her treatment, she received several blood and platelet transfusions.

According to CBCC, cancer patients are the No. 1 recipients of blood products. One local children’s hospital alone requires nearly 300 units of red blood cells and more than 100 units of platelets each month.

Erin [Santos] is an advocate, through and through and is truly deserving of this accolade,” said Martin Grable, president and CEO of Community Blood Center of the Carolinas and president of the board of America’s Blood Centers. “We can’t thank her enough for her unwavering support and dedication. She not only advocates for blood and platelet donations, but also for childhood cancer research and the families experiencing it. She believes in those causes with every fiber of her being, and it’s impossible to miss her passion and dedication to these causes. Donor community advocates, such as Erin [Santos] and Larry [Frederick], play a vital role in the world of blood donation.

Erin Santos and Martin Grable