A Young Boy from Alaska Continues His Journey to a Cure
REMOVING BARRIERS: OWEN’S JOURNEY
Owen’s story begins in the remote village of Shishmaref, Alaska. His family lives on a barrier island just north of the Bering Strait. With a population of only 530 people, it’s a place where family bonds, tradition, and heritage run deep.
At only 9 years old, Owen’s life took an unexpected turn when he was diagnosed with severe aplastic anemia, a rare, life-threatening blood disorder.
Owen’s Journey to a Cure
His family embarked on a daunting journey so Owen could receive treatment.
The closest medical center capable of providing the specialized care that Owen needed was two thousand miles away in Seattle. The prospect of leaving their close-knit community and facing an uncertain future was overwhelming, but they had no choice. Owen and his family set off on a path that would test their strength and determination.
Owen’s first bone marrow transplant brought a glimmer of hope, but it was short-lived.
The treatment was not successful and the transplant failed. Once again, Owen’s health hung in the balance. His family gathered their courage and they will try again.
Owen is preparing for his second bone marrow transplant and we wish him success.
Overcoming Financial Strain
The toll of his medical journey and the burden of being far from home continues to weigh heavily on Owen’s family. The financial strain is enormous.
Recognizing their challenges, the Icla da Silva Foundation provided crucial funds for transportation to Seattle. Understanding the high price of internet in Western Alaska, we also offered support for wireless bills, ensuring that Owen stays connected with his loved ones back home.
A Unique Perspective
We often provide meal assistance to patient families. A parent cannot work for many months while their child is in treatment. The combination of medical bills and living expenses can be overwhelming, especially when you are living in an unfamiliar city with no income.
Owen’s situation gave us a unique perspective. His father Christopher told us that, “back home in Alaska, we hunt and gather year-round for most of our food.”
They never had to rely on a grocery store for sustenance.
It was both unfamiliar and expensive. We provided the family with meal assistance so they can focus on Owen’s treatment.
Owen is still fighting his life-threatening illness. His family was forced to travel far from home and stay in a strange city. They had no one else to turn to.
The Icla da Silva Foundation stepped in to provide much-needed financial support for Owen’s journey to receive a bone marrow transplant.
A Father’s Gratitude
Owen’s father expressed profound gratitude for the help they received, “Thank you very much from the bottom of my heart and on behalf of my family.” His heartfelt words are a reminder of the dramatic impact we can make on a family in their darkest moments.
We wish Owen a successful transplant and hope that he and his family will soon be able to return home to Alaska.
You Can Help
The Icla da Silva Foundation’s patient assistance program is funded directly by people like you. The cost of transportation, housing, and meals during treatment are not covered by medical insurance.
Will you donate to provide critical financial assistance during treatment? Your support will ensure that a patient doesn’t have to postpone or delay their bone marrow transplant.
Your generosity will provide crucial support to a patient just like Owen.
You can watch the TikTok Owen’s Dad posted of his first transplant, shared on our YouTube channel.
Written by: Bret Itskowitch