Charlotte based Isabella Santos Foundation and Ella B. Candles Collaborate to Launch Candles to benefit Pediatric Cancer

Locally Inspired & Locally Made to Change the World

A college student who took on a different kind of summer job is helping to change the world for kids fighting cancer.

Halle Mckellar, a Junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, spent this past summer working with the Isabella Santos Foundation’s (ISF) Summer Internship Program. In her role as a Lead Intern, Halle led a team of ten volunteer student interns to help bring awareness and raise funds for the cause. 

Halle had a creative vision for a fundraising idea and reached out to the mother of a childhood friend, Julie Tassy, owner of Ella B. Candles. Halle asked about the possibilities of collaborating on a candle that would help to change the lives of pediatric cancer patients. A candle that helped to change the world. From there sparked an idea behind the design.

“Before the Summer Intern Program started, I knew I wanted to find unique ways to raise money for ISF. I spent time brainstorming and collaborating with my team to create a list of ideas for fundraisers during the summer,” says Halle. “We focused mainly on local businesses and personal connections which is how I landed on Ella B. Candles. Since middle school, I have known Harper Tassy, Julie and Christopher’s daughter. We played volleyball together and I spent a good amount of time with the Tassy family during these years! I have always admired the Tassy family because of their kindness, authenticity, and generosity. Ella B. communicates these same values, making them a perfect partner for ISF. This is why I decided to reach out to Julie Tassy about a potential collaboration with the Isabella Santos Foundation. My vision was to create an Ella B. Candle that both raises money and awareness for rare pediatric cancers. Without hesitation, Julie was on board and was ready to make our ideas come to life. I loved everything about this experience, from meeting with Erin and Julie and choosing the scents to visiting the hive and learning about the logistical side of creating a candle. I am so excited to have brought this relationship to ISF and to see how these candles change the world in the future!”

Halle’s vision quickly came to life as the ISF and Ella B. teams worked to collaborate together.  After hours of talking about community, scents, colors and aesthetics, they designed two candles that have touches uniquely matching ISF’s mission: “This Candle Cures Cancer” and “Change the World”.  All with one purpose, to help raise funds for kids fighting cancer. 

Ella B. Candles is a Charlotte-based soy candle company, hand-poured and packaged right here in town. “When Halle brought the idea to me, I was excited for the opportunity,” says Julie. “Within minutes of our first meeting with Erin Santos, it was clear that our missions aligned, and the candle creation began. The ISF team is an amazing group of caring, creative, passionate people. I am so proud of the candles that we have created, and even more honored to be part of this local fundraising effort.” The response was overwhelming when the Ella B. Candles team offered their local retailers a chance to participate. It’s pretty amazing when a local organization, a local manufacturer and local retailers come together to change the world. You can be a part of this effort – Purchase a “Change the World” candle at these local retailers: Paper Skyscraper, Creative by Nature, Eliza B’s, Southern Style, The Village Store, and The Spa at Ballantyne.

Julie and the team from ISF

ISF’s mission started with Isabella Santos who was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma 15 years ago.  “10 years ago I lost my 7-year-old daughter to cancer and I never could have imagined finding happiness again”, explains Erin Santos, ISF Executive Director.  “But life happens and through my experience, my world has been changed. She has left a legacy that will forever make me proud of her and for what I do each and every day. It started with a girl and she is changing the world.” 

Celebrating its 15th Year Anniversary, ISF has donated more than $6 million to its mission through funding pediatric cancer initiatives.The Foundation is currently funding the creation of a pediatric cancer program at Levine Children’s, the Isabella Santos Foundation Rare & Solid Tumor Program, which is the first of its kind in the country.

As for Halle and her success over the summer, her team raised just shy of $30,000 over the course of two months.

All inspired by one girl who is still changing the world.

Purchase a candle today and help ISF change the world, just like Isabella did. You can purchase both candles online at isabellasantosfoundation.org/isf-candles.  Or to support our local businesses, you can purchase the “Change the World candle at these local retailers:

  • Paper Skyscraper
  • Creative by Nature
  • Eliza B’s
  • Southern Style
  • The Village Store
  • The Spa at Ballantyne

Learn More about ISF at their website HERE Or Find them on

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