REMOVING BARRIERS – Matthew’s Story
Matthew is a devoted college advisor in a small town in Texas.
Last January, he was forced to put his passion for education aside when he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia.
Over the past year, Matthew has endured many rounds of chemotherapy, multiple biopsies, and CAR-T cell therapy. He and his wife Krystal were forced to relocate so he could be closer to the transplant center to prepare for his bone marrow transplant. They left behind their home and the students Matthew had devoted his career to guiding.
Fortunately, Matthew had his wife Krystal by his side as his full-time caregiver.
This January, he finally received his bone marrow transplant.
Matthew tells us he will be “forever grateful” for the Icla Cares program. The Icla da Silva Foundation provided Matthew with financial assistance for lodging, gas, and groceries while he was in treatment.
Thanks to our donors for making financial support possible.
In addition to helping him overcome financial hardships related to his bone marrow transplant, Matthew says we made him feel like he was never alone.
You Can Help a Patient in Need
Today, Matthew is in remission, and the couple can finally breathe a sigh of relief.
But they know there are others out there fighting the same battle. Many do not have the support they require.
That’s why the Icla da Silva Foundation is asking for your help.
Too many patients are delaying treatment because of related expenses. While preparing for a bone marrow transplant, the cost of housing, transportation, and meals are not covered by insurance.
Your donation can make a difference.
Your gift will ensure relief for a patient like Matthew on his journey to a cure.
Written by: Bret ItskowitchFighting Cancer Includes Protecting a Patient from Eviction
REMOVING BARRIERS – Larissa’s Story
Larissa’s life took an unexpected turn when she was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia in 2018. As a single mother, her world was turned upside down while battling a life-threatening disease.
She received a bone marrow transplant, but unfortunately, there were complications. Larissa was forced to undergo a second transplant in March.
One month before her scheduled transplant, Larissa received an eviction notice.
This added to the financial and emotional strain of her situation. Larissa has been unable to work due to her illness, and she had been in and out of the hospital with various infections and complications.
She was worried about her family.
Despite applying for assistance from other foundations, she received no response.
Icla Cares Supports A Patient in Need
When the Icla da Silva Foundation learned about Larissa’s situation, the Icla Cares program immediately stepped in to provide both financial and emotional assistance for her family. We paid her landlord to prevent eviction and provided emotional support to help her cope with the mental toll of her disease.
Thanks to our support, Larissa was able to focus on treatment and receive her bone marrow transplant.
Maintaining Close Contact
Adriana, an Icla Cares team member, kept in close contact with Larissa to provide a listening ear and a friendly voice whenever she needed it.
We want patients to know that they are never alone.
Adriana’s words of empathy and understanding helped lift Larissa’s spirits during some of her darkest moments.
Remember to call me anytime that you need to talk to someone. I am here for you. I am not a licensed therapist, but I consider myself a good friend. I am just a call away.
I look forward to hearing from you.
You Can Make a Difference
Join us in our mission to remove financial barriers for patients who require a bone marrow transplant. Your gift can make all the difference in the world to a patient like Larissa.
Your donation will provide critical financial assistance to those who are struggling with out-of-pocket costs during treatment.
Together, we will help patients like Larissa focus on treatment and overcome the challenges caused by illness. Click on the button below to make a difference today.
Larissa reminds us to “be thankful and be grateful. Hold your babies tight and cherish every single second…as we all know, tomorrow is not promised.”
Written by: Bret Itskowitch
Two Times: Two Diagnoses and Two Bone Marrow Transplants
Priscilla Lee seems to have a history of “twos”.
She is both intelligent, and funny. She spends time with her family in two vibrant cities, New York City and Hong Kong. She graduated from Indiana University after majoring in both Math and Economic Consulting. While at Indiana, she learned figure skating and broke her wrists, both of them, at the same time. Priscilla enjoys comedy, so she took improv lessons at both the Upright Citizens Brigade and, you guessed it, “Second” City. She performed improv, wait for it…twice.
Unfortunately, two times is not always better than once. Priscilla has also been diagnosed with leukemia, two times. She received one bone marrow transplant and is waiting for her second.
Diagnosed With Leukemia
She was first diagnosed with AML, acute myeloid leukemia, in December 2012, while on winter break with her family. For patients with AML, the bone marrow makes cells that have not completely matured, and the body is unable to ward off infections.
They found a matching bone marrow donor on the Be The Match registry and she received a transplant from an unrelated donor.
In May 2018, she relapsed and was also diagnosed with ALL, acute lymphocytic leukemia. Priscilla was immediately put under chemo, again. Her oncologist told her that the only way to remission is another bone marrow transplant.
Priscilla was extremely fortunate to be able to find a matching donor, a second time. Although she is constantly smiling, she is obviously anxious, and her family and friends are concerned about her well being, while she prepares for her second bone marrow transplant.
Challenges In Finding A Match
Priscilla is well aware of the difficulties that most ethnic minorities have when searching for a matching donor. Asians only have a 41% chance of finding a match, yet she was able to find a match, two times.
Since patients are most likely to match someone with the same ethnic ancestry, it is important for people with diverse ethnicity to include themselves on the registry. Many patients have very little chance of finding a matching donor.
Priscilla is both positive and strong. She is thankful for the selfless support of her parents, who still inspire her with their strength.
She is also incredibly grateful for the opportunity given to her by her donors, both of them. Two people have given her an opportunity for a second chance at life.
Her friends and family think Priscilla is brave, to be able to go through such adversity at a young age. Priscilla considers her bone marrow donor to be the truly brave soul. He had a choice. He chose to include himself on the Be The Match registry, and although he was under no obligation to agree to a donation when he was matched to Priscilla, he did. He donated and added years to her life. He became her superhero.
You can become someone’s superhero by joining the registry.
become someone’s superhero
Priscilla thinks it is important for those who are willing and able to join the registry to know exactly what they are giving. They are giving life, but they are also supplying hope. Not just to a patient in need, but to their entire family, as well as their extended network of friends. A person who joins the registry and agrees to donate will touch many people through their selfless act. We hope they inspire many more to do the same.
Joining the Registry
Anyone between the ages of 18-40 can join the Be The Match registry and give hope to the many patients searching for a matching donor. After clicking the link below, you set up an account with an email and password. You complete the online registration by answering some basic eligibility questions. You will receive a simple, do-it-yourself HLA typing kit in the mail. The kit includes everything you need to collect a sample of cells from your cheek, using 2 cotton swabs. Once you return the kit, you will be added to the registry. Hopefully, you will receive a call that you match a patient in need.
Only one in 430 people who register will match a patient and go on to make a donation.
Priscilla has another superhero waiting in the wings. Someone else who was brave enough to join the registry and agree to donate their stem cells to a complete stranger.
Her second fight has just begun, and it will continue. We appreciate that Priscilla is sharing her story, and we hope it will inspire more superheroes to join the registry on her behalf.
Please join the registry today, you will supply hope and opportunity to many patients, as well as their families and friends.
Make a difference, join the registry.
join the registry
Written by: Bret Itskowitch