Caroline Clark is 21 and has Leukemia. She was attending her last year in college when she found out that she had leukemia. After her first complete month of hospitalization, she was told that the only thing that could potentially cure her fatal d
isease was a bone marrow transplant. Both of her parents and two sisters were tested, but none were anywhere near of being a close match for a safe transplant. “I thought my options were closed and that I had to accept my fate,” said Caroline.
Caroline began doing research on the Internet about her disease and bone marrow transplants. While on her search, she stumbled upon the Icla da Silva Foundation’s website and as what she thought was a last resort, took a chance and sent an email explaining her situation and asking for help, even if it was just information. “To my surprise, I had a response the very next day from Airam. When I was done reading the email, I began to cry because I couldn’t believe that it was true, that I didn’t have to just wait for my chemotherapy cycles to be done and wait to see if I die or not, and that his organization was willing to help me with anything that I needed. I couldn’t even believe that we didn’t have to pay any more for the HLA tests to be performed.” said Caroline in tears. Because there were no perfect match donors for Caroline within her family, so with the support of the Icla da Silva Foundation, bone marrow drives were held at Caroline’s church, with some of her old friends in Boston, Washington Heights, at her college in Utica, NY, and in Florida so that other families and friends could be tested. From all the drives that have been held about 400 people, mostly minorities, signed up to the NMDP Registry so that if they are not a match for Caroline, they can save somebody else’s life that is awaiting for a donor like her. “It scares me to think of where I would be had I not found the Icla da Silva foundation, or worse, where all of the people whose life has been saved by this organization would be.
We need more support in the minority community to help people like me who are awaiting for their life saving donor.” explained Caroline. And she ended her presentation by saying: “With any luck, more people will get involved with the Icla da Silva Foundation, and maybe take them as an example and want to help out on their own, more people will become informed about bone marrow transplants and how easy it is for someone to save another’s life, and maybe one day I can attend an event like this meeting my own donor. With everything that the Icla da Silva foundation has done for me already, I feel that I owe them so much already, my never ending gratitude, and my help to help others.”