A Treasured Gift

On September 30, 2009, Joe Restaino, a 2008 McCallie graduate, returned to the school he loved to deliver a chapel talk knowing there would be no cure for the osteosarcoma he’d been diagnosed with three years earlier. There, before students, faculty, his family and friends, he spoke eloquently about overcoming fear and being free. 

Seated in the audience was my then 15-year old son John, who was about four weeks into his own McCallie experience. At the time, boarding school was all new to our family. We didn’t know then that our adventure at McCallie would span ten years, include all three of our boys, and bless us beyond measure. We didn’t know then the impact that Joe Restaino and his family would have on us.

Shortly after that chapel talk, I got a phone call from John. We were early enough in the experience that an unscheduled, daytime phone call certainly got my attention. When I answered, John spoke with a voice full of emotion telling me about listening to Joe’s talk and seeing the love of the community and all of Joe’s family and friends who had come to support him. It was at that moment, he said, that he could begin to truly grasp how special McCallie was. The words about facing fear gave him courage, he said, and confirmed for him that taking this risk and leaving home at such a young age was the right thing to do. I think for the first time in months, we all exhaled. 

We never got the chance to know Joe. He passed away four months later in January of 2010. But for our family, his courageous chapel talk that fall is a treasured gift—a moment in time that inspired a young boy who went on to embrace his experience at McCallie and set an example for his younger brothers to do the same.

At the end of his life, Joe asked his family to work toward finding cures and improving treatment options for rare pediatric cancers. The Joedance Film Festival has been honoring his request for ten years and is going strong.

Today, I invite you to help us continue this life-saving work by making a small donation of $14.68 to honor the 1,468 days Joe fought his battle. Whether it’s a penny for each day, or more if you can, please help us remember Joe’s struggle while we continue to find a cure.

DONATE: You can donate to our 1,468 days campaign HERE 

WATCH: You can watch Joe’s inspiring Chapel Talk HERE 

Written by Kelly Crum, Joedance Board Member/ Secretary 

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DianeA Treasured Gift

Joedance Premieres – Know Before You Go

We are greatly looking forward to the Joedance Premieres!
Date: Saturday, September 21, 2019
Time: 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Details surrounding the event are as follows:
Location: Elmwood Cemetery
Address: 700 W 6th St, Charlotte, NC 28202
Please follow direction parking signs upon entrance to the cemetery.
Elmwood Cemetery Map: http://bit.ly/2ZtaXgp
Free Event Parking

*BRING your own picnic (food and beverages) and chairs- DOORS OPEN at 7pm screenings start at 7:30pm. *


  1. Last Call at the Scarlet Moon, Co-Produced by Jerry Keys and Brad Hord
  2. Black Dispatch, Directed by Shea Sizemore
  3. Coventown, Directed by Mike Reda 

The filmmakers will be on hand for Q & A | This event made possible by The Foundation For The Carolinas

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DianeJoedance Premieres – Know Before You Go

1,468 Days in Memory of Joe

Time never stops.

We follow it with clocks and calendars but it doesn’t slow down for anyone. Some days pass in the blink of an eye, and others seem like an eternity.

Time is an especially complex concept in the life of someone battling cancer. Minutes seem to fly by on the good days leaving you longing for more. And, on the bad days, time seems to stall as the pain and suffering drag on.

Joe battled his cancer for 4 years and 8 days. That is 1,468 days total. He fought every day even at his worst. There are no timeouts or breaks when it comes to cancer. Time continues to roll on regardless of remission or progression…

We know this because this is how the Restaino family lived for 1,468 days. Now, over 10 years later, we ask for your help to keep Joe’s story going. Because you and I have time, Joe didn’t.

His fight with pediatric cancer lasted four years and eight days. 1,468 days. Can you make a small donation of $14.68 to honor Joe’s 1,468-day battle with cancer?


Your support of Joedance has helped make meaningful strides in the battle against pediatric cancer. We’re asking you to recognize Joe’s 1,468 days with a special donation. Whether it’s a penny a day, or more if you can afford it, please help us remember Joe’s struggle while we continue to find a cure

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Diane1,468 Days in Memory of Joe

Thank You For The Best 10 Years

Because of you we celebrated our tenth anniversary in August and have continued to make an impact on the lives of children with cancer.

We returned to the Charlotte Ballet for a second year and screened 18 films by filmmakers from North and South Carolina over three nights. Expanding to three nights, Thursday became our Cultural Arts Evening with the students from Arts+ providing live music.

In these past ten years, together we have made an impact on the lives of children and adolescents battling cancer. Here’s how:

Joedance Internship Program:

  • Introduced Healios, a mouthwash that lessens the severity of mouth sores keeping children healthier during their treatment. This is part of every pediatric cancer patient’s protocol for free.
  • Collected data on the “Backpack Program” allowing patients to continue their treatments at home rather than having long hospital stays. This is being prepared for publication.
  • Interviewed patients and caregivers on the benefits of integrative medicine (such as acupuncture, Reiki, and art therapy). This data will be used for the new Supportive Medicine Department headed by Dr. Jennifer Pope at Levine Children’s.

Other Programs:

  • Funding the salary of the Research Technician at the Pediatric Cancer Research Lab in 2019.
  • Helped fund a clinical trial for recurrent osteosarcoma, authored by Dr. Javier Oesterheld, Specialty Medical Director at Levine Children’s.

We remain grateful for your support and all you have done to help us keep our promise to Joe to find cures and to support children and families with cancer.


Diane Restaino


Joedance Film Festival
301 W 10th Street #407
Charlotte, NC 28202

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DianeThank You For The Best 10 Years

With Cancer, It’s Never Really ‘Over’

We’re officially in Film Festival Mode at Joedance! It’s hard to believe that we’re turning 10 this year. That means it’s been almost been 10 years since we lost Joe.

Ten years is a decade which sounds like a long time. But, for those affected by cancer and its devastation, you know that the pain is never really over. Perhaps no one understands this feeling better than our social media marketing manager, Nicole Orban.

Much like Joe, Nicole was diagnosed with a rare cancer at the age of 20 (just 30 days before her 21st birthday). The diagnosis was a shock to this active and healthy college student on the Dance Team. The blister on her tongue that she kept putting off as a sore or irritation was actually Stage III cancer.

When you’re 20, you don’t worry about cancer too much until it happens to you.

It uprooted her life as cancer often does…

It moved her family from a small town in Pennsylvania to Manhattan for treatment…

It took away her ability to taste or swallow…

she was left with an ear-to-ear scar across her neck…

she lost 75% of her tongue and 100% of her health and happiness.


But fortunately, for Nicole, she won her battle with the disease. Though she battles the long-term effects of radiation every day, she’s adjusted to her new normal as best as anyone could. She’s now a mother of 4 and has a clean bill of health. And, even though this is all great news, Nicole will be the first to tell you that cancer is never really over. 

Nicole’s cancer happened 11 years ago so our 10th anniversary really hits home with her. She volunteers her time to run social media at the film festival because she knows that the battle against cancer isn’t over.

She knows what Joe went through even though they never meant. She understands what it’s like to be robbed of the time of your life that is meant for making memories with friends, traveling the world, and bar hopping. She understands what it was like to battle cancer at this young stage of life and she’s determined to help make a difference in honor of Joe.

If you see Nicole at the film festival, know that she’s there fighting silently as part of the Joedance Team until cancer is really over.

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DianeWith Cancer, It’s Never Really ‘Over’

The Joedance VIP Experience



The Joedance VIP Experience

The historic Dunhill Hotel, in the heart of Uptown Charlotte, is proud to partner with The Joedance Film Festival in offering guests of the festival a truly memorable experience. Conveniently located just four blocks from the Charlotte Ballet’s Center for Dance, home of the festival, we are thrilled to offer the following for the evening of Saturday, August 3rd:

2 VIP tickets to the Red Carpet Event and Joedance Film Festival screenings
1-night stay in a Vintage Queen Room at The Dunhill Hotel
$50 voucher to use at The Asbury Restaurant, located in The Dunhill Hotel
$275.00, plus tax and gratuities

This immersive experience is only available by confirming your reservation through this exclusive link: BOOK NOW

We join you in enthusiastically supporting pediatric cancer research.

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DianeThe Joedance VIP Experience

A Look Inside Our Joedance Summer Internship Program

Integrative medicine is key part of holistic wellness and the focus of our Joedance Internship Program. It’s a practice that treats the patient as a whole, not just their cancer. Integrative medicine uses a variety of mind and body practices, natural products, and lifestyle changes such as treatment alongside conventional medications.

These therapies include, but are not limited to yoga, acupuncture, meditation, art therapy, and journaling. In this project, we aim to understand the experiences and interest in integrative medicine from a wide variety of patients and caregivers with different backgrounds through the utilization of a survey of oncology patients being treated at the Levine Children’s Hospital. Using our data and the current research on integrative medicine, we can begin to change the views of other patients, caregivers, and providers regarding integrative medicine practices and their effect on patient well-being to provide patients with the best care possible.

Meet Emily Madsen, Our Summer ’19 Joedance Intern
Emily Madsen is a sophomore at Clemson University pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in biological sciences with a rehabilitation focus to work towards a Doctorate in Physical Therapy. She loves to travel, run, and hang in her hammock. She’s passionate about her current research and hopes that, by its conclusion, there will be more evidence on the growing need to further educate people about integrative medicine and its successes.

You can make a donation to help support Joedance and our Internship Program HERE

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DianeA Look Inside Our Joedance Summer Internship Program

An Inspirational Message From Joe

There are a lot of inspiring quotes out there, but this one really hits home.

Joe was so many things…courageous, kind, strong, and loving just to name a few. He always had a way of lighting up a room even in the darkest of times. He preached a message of hope, support, and community that was the foundation of his strength during his battle with cancer.

This particular video was taken when he was between chemotherapy treatments for recurrent bone cancer at Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte. Joe courageously returned to McCallie for his Senior Chapel talk to continue to do what he did so well, inspire others.

Here we are, over a decade later, getting ready to celebrate the Joedance Film Festival’s 10th year! Joe’s message still resides in our hearts. It motivates us to continue to raise funds for the fight against pediatric cancer. We’re thankful for Joe’s courage and inspiring words that we will keep especially close to our hearts as we celebrate 10 wonderful years in his memory #JoedanceTurns10

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DianeAn Inspirational Message From Joe