Inspired by a close family friend whose child received a lifesaving liver transplant at three months old, Isabella Iannuzzi has become a tireless advocate for organ donation and transplantation and she donates many hours to spreading the message of saving lives through transplants. Partnering with Donate Life and Life Alliance she travels across Florida attending events that raise awareness for organ transplantation. She founded Dancers Donate Life, a nonprofit committed to raising awareness and collecting donations to support organ donation education.
What motivates you?
"I am motivated by many things. I love ballet and I know that my commitment to hard work and training will help me achieve my goals of dancing professionally. A more important goal and what motivates me deeply is helping others. This may sound like a cliché but it’s true.
My grandmother always says “to whom much is given, much is expected” so when I was only four years old, we started volunteering across Florida together.
I became aware that there were so many people that were underserved in communities across Florida. My heart was full of love and gratitude for all that I was given, and I wanted to give back in every way that I could.
Through a very personal experience when I was 7 years old, I became an ambassador for organ donation. It seemed so simple to me, if we can save a life through transplantation then we should all be honored to give that ultimate gift. It was at that moment I realized my purpose was to support and encourage those waiting to receive a transplant and to educate others about the opportunity to give the gift of life.
I have personally experienced both sides of this decision. I have witnessed a life that was saved by organ donation and I have supported a friend that donated her organs to save lives. We all have the power to make a difference. Organ donation should be as organic as saving someone from drowning or rescuing someone from a building on fire. Life is precious and we can all make an impact by supporting organ donation.
There are so many children waiting on life-saving transplants. After realizing how hard their journeys are and all they must endure on their way to having a chance at life, I established Bella’s Band-Aid Brigade. Together with my 14 awesome young ambassadors, we have collected more than 40,000 band-aid’s, with many more drives yet to come! There is no limit to the possibilities that we can achieve when our goal is to help save lives."
What is your favorite book/podcast/website?
"One of my favorite podcasts is “Barre Talk with Robert Hill”. Mr. Hill is the Artistic Director of the Orlando Ballet and I enjoy listening to stories about the journeys and careers of professional ballet dancers, choreographers, ballet company directors, and many others in the ballet world. I would love to dance with the Orlando Ballet someday. It would be such an honor to be interviewed by Mr. Robert Hill about my ballet journey and share how the dance community could support my non-profit, Dancers Donate Life, and Bella’s Band-Aid Brigade."
What is your favorite quote?
“Be a wonderful role model because you will be the window through which many children will see their future.” Thomas McKinnon Wood
What is one piece of advice you would give our readers?
"Be yourself. Be authentic. Do not compromise your values to please anyone else. You know who you are, and you know your direction. Knowing what is right and good and helping those less fortunate should be the foundation of our highest principles."