CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – “You ready for your big debut? Yeah.”

She just can’t help it.

Tucked underneath her second favorite blanket on the third floor of the new Levine Children’s Outpatient Clinic, 8-year-old Maura is always shining.

“How does this work?” asked Maura, crushing up a hand warmer. “You can tuck it under your shirt,” a nurse told her.

For the past year, she’s had to come in for treatment.

“I have leukemia,” said Maura.

Sometimes, it’s antibiotics; other times, it’s more.

“When I get blood, that means I’m really tired,” said Maura.

Even when she doesn’t mean to, she draws others in.

“We were swaying to this song that we do at the end of the camp. This little girl comes up, stands right in front of me, and grabs on my hand,” remembered Grant Santos.

Grant is 16 years old and goes to Myers Park High School. He knows what it’s like to be enveloped in someone else’s glow.

Isabella was like a beam of light. She was gorgeous; she was my best friend,” said Grant.t

His older sister was Isabella Santos. The two were best friends.

“Inseparable. Yeah,” said Grant.

Until Isabella lost her 5-year battle with cancer at seven years old in 2012.

“It hits me like a wave; it’s tough,” said Grant.

Since then, he’s been raising thousands of dollars for the non-profit named after his sister and best friend, the ‘Isabella Santos Foundation.’

“I looked down, and she was this small white girl with a shaved head- and I could tell she’d been going through chemo,” remembered Grant.

While at a special camp for siblings of cancer patients, Maura found Grant.

“She was the sweetest girl ever, so sweet. I ended up talking to her afterward,” said Grant.

The two only shared a few moments together, but it was enough to make a Zoom meet-up even more meaningful.

“Let me know if there is anything I can to help you out,” Grant told Maura. “I just… I see a lot my sister in Maura, and that’s a really big thing for me.”

Maura is finishing her treatment in the area at the hospital, funded by the Isabella Santos Foundation.

Grabbing a marker, she automatically draws a flower and a sun.

Because even when it’s overwhelming, you can always find a way in.