Isabel Rita recently lent her voice to sing “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” on a Christmas album to help raise funds for Children’s Specialized Hospital and David’s Dream and Believe Cancer Foundation. The Van Holten first-grader resides in Bridgewater with her parents, Sonia and Marco Rita, and their nine-year-old dog, Tucker.
The album is part of a project called Duets from the Heart (DFTH) and was developed by Calista Quinn, a 17-year-old New Jersey native who has been featured on Radio Disney and was on The Voice in 2018.
DFTH is an ongoing series of holiday albums featuring amazing children. The purpose is to not only provide children battling chronic illnesses with an opportunity to experience the process of music production, but to also give back to the organizations that help them live their best lives.
“I have been so fortunate to be where I am and I really want to give other kids the chance to embody what it feels like to do what I do,” says Calista.
Isabel, who her family and friends nicknamed 'Izzy Warrior Princess,' was diagnosed with a spinal cord tumor at just one-year-old. She is no stranger to chronic illness as she continues to battle through a tumor and the side effects that have come with it.
Inspired by Isabel’s strength, her mother co-founded Izzy's Infantry Fighting Pediatric Cancer and Spinal Trauma. Their goal is to raise money for important, underfunded childhood cancer research. They also want to provide support to patients and their families through various programs and groups.
Isabel was excited to sing on the album.
"I accomplished something that I never thought I would at this age. It made me feel really proud of myself,” says Isabel.
The album was produced by Grammy-nominated songwriter Desmond Dennis who is also known for “Desmond’s Kids Jamz,” which is a collection R&B remakes of classic nursery rhymes.
All proceeds are split between Children’s Specialized Hospital and David’s Dream and Believe. The CD and digital versions are available online with a minimum $10 donation at DuetsfromtheHeart.org or by emailing email@example.com.