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“Shining a Light” on Financial Hardship During Cancer

REMOVING BARRIERS TO TREATMENT: Paul’s Story

Mckeesport, PA

We received this heartfelt letter from a patient’s wife, sharing how our financial assistance program provided them with much-needed support during their battle with cancer.


We want to thank your organization for helping us pay our electric bill (they were about to shut the lights off). There was even money left over for groceries. THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

There are no government programs for people like us…we make too much to receive assistance, but not enough to get through the month, especially since my husband is not able to work right now due to his cancer.

Our daughter struggles with addiction, so we take care of our 4-year-old granddaughter. There is no assistance for grandparents who take custody to keep their grandchild out of the foster care system. We would never allow that to happen. She is the light of our lives.

If it weren’t for your program, we would have NOTHING – no assistance.

Paul is very quiet, so I will speak for him and say THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR WHAT YOU DO….If there is ever a time when we can give back, we definitely will!!!

Thank you again from Paul and Kristie 😊


We are happy to report that Paul received his stem cell transplant and is on the road to recovery.

Paul’s story, shared by his wife Kristie, is just one example of how the Icla da Silva Foundation is making a difference in the life of a patient facing financial hardship during cancer. The options for support, while fighting a life-threatening disease, are very limited. And timing is obviously important.

We were able to provide immediate support thanks to the generosity of donors like you.

Will you help us continue?

Your donation, no matter how large or small, can make a huge difference in a patient’s difficult journey. Please consider making a gift today to help us keep the lights on and food on the table for those who need it most.

DONATE

Written by: Bret Itskowitch

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Two Cancers Turned Her World Upside Down

REMOVING BARRIERS TO TREATMENT: Tami’s Story

Ventura, Ca

Tami’s life took a harrowing turn when she received a leukemia diagnosis at the age of 39. It transformed her world into a fight for survival. Chemo and immunotherapy eventually put her in remission.

It was a fragile victory, but a victory nonetheless.

Fighting Two Cancers

Four years later, fate dealt another cruel blow. She was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer. To make matters worse, blood tests revealed that the leukemia had returned.

Panic set in. Tami’s world turned upside down as she fought two cancers at once.

Through it all, her husband Tom was her rock. He was her biggest cheerleader, at her side every step of the way. But acting as a caregiver during treatment, while also taking care of their two children, meant less time at work.

Where Would They Get Help

There wasn’t enough money coming in to meet all of the out-of-pocket costs incurred during treatment.

A social worker at City of Hope, where Tami would receive her bone marrow transplant, mentioned a grant program called Icla Cares that might help ease their financial burden. Tami wasn’t working, and her husband’s reduced hours while she was in treatment meant they were walking a financial tightrope.

The Icla Cares Program Was a Lifeline

Thanks to the generosity of our donors, the Icla da Silva Foundation provided crucial support for Tami and her family. We helped fund housing during treatment to ease their heavy financial burden.

Tami’s breast cancer was removed, and her bone marrow transplant was a success.

It was definitely a struggle for our entire family,” Tami shared, “but thanks to the incredible support from family, friends, and this amazing program from the Icla da Silva Foundation, we survived. Those funds were a huge blessing.”

 

Show Your Support

A cancer journey is a physical, emotional, and financial struggle. It’s a life-threatening battle for the patient that affects the entire family. When we remove financial barriers during treatment, we empower a family like Tami’s to focus on healing and look towards the future.

Please donate to support our mission and help a patient in their battle against blood cancer.

Your gift could provide housing assistance to a family battling cancer, just like it did for Tami’s family.

DONATE TODAY

Written by: Bret Itskowitch

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No One Expects to Receive a Blood Cancer Diagnosis

REMOVING BARRIERS TO TREATMENT: Cindy’s Story

Hope, ID

Cindy and her husband were enjoying retirement, but their golden years were threatened when she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The only path to a cure was a bone marrow transplant, a long and arduous therapy that carries a high risk of complications. The news overwhelmed Cindy and her husband, but she was determined to fight.

Following her diagnosis, Cindy spent two critical months in the hospital.

After being approved for a transplant, they had to relocate to Seattle. Treatment is intensive and bone marrow transplant patients are required to stay within 30 miles of the transplant center in case of complications.

Her husband packed up their dog Murphy and moved in with family to be closer to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center.

It was a scary, challenging time. Battling her disease was compounded by the stress of mounting expenses. No one plans to receive a diagnosis of blood cancer. As a couple on a fixed retirement income, the added cost of housing, transportation, and meals while in treatment was a lot to take on. How would they get through this?

That’s when the Icla da Silva Foundation stepped in. Thanks to the generosity of donors, we provided critical funds for transportation and meals during treatment.

Cindy was grateful for the support she received.

The assistance helped us stress less about all the bills and focus more on getting well. Having cancer is stressful enough. It’s wonderful knowing that there is an organization like the Icla da Silva Foundation to lessen the burden.”

Her transplant was successful and we wish Cindy a full recovery.

Will you help a patient like Cindy as they battle a life-threatening blood cancer? Your donation will give them hope and strength to face each day.

Please donate today.

DONATE TODAY

Written by: Bret Itskowitch

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Fanny’s Fight Against Blood Cancer

REMOVING BARRIERS: Fanny’s Story

Patchogue, NY

Fanny has always been a healthy, hardworking woman.

But last year, she was overcome by debilitating back pain. She thought it was just from working long hours. When a lump suddenly appeared on the back of her neck, her husband Angel sent her to the doctor and a biopsy was ordered.

Fanny was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Peripheral T-cell lymphoma. This is a fast-growing blood cancer that could quickly metastasize and spread to the rest of her body.

They needed to take immediate action.

She was sent for chemotherapy treatments. As a result, she could no longer keep her job as a childcare worker. The chemo left her so fatigued, that Fanny barely had the strength to keep up with her own children.

Her husband Angel was her rock. He kept insisting that everything would be ok. He would take care of her, and they would beat this together as a family.

After a year of chemotherapy, Fanny was finally scheduled to receive a bone marrow transplant.

From Bad to Worse

Fanny and Angel have always worked hard. It wasn’t easy, but they did it together. They were able to keep the bills paid and even save a little for their future.

Now that Fanny was unable to work, finances were tight. Angel had to take eight weeks of unpaid leave to support her during treatments. This left the family with limited income and their savings depleted.

Once Fanny was scheduled to receive a transplant, Angel was told he would need to take months off from work to be his wife’s caregiver.

They have been battling a life-threatening disease with tremendous uncertainty for a year.

Now they had to worry about how they would pay the bills. How would they keep food on the table and pay the rent while Angel was a full-time caregiver? Fanny and her husband were afraid, they worried about their children.

Support for a Family in Need

That’s when the Icla da Silva Foundation stepped in. We provided vital financial support, funding rent, meals, and transportation during her treatment.

The Icla da Silva Foundation changes lives for families who face the burden of blood cancer. We provide much-needed financial support, helping a patient like Fanny focus on their recovery, not their bills.

You Can Help a Patient’s Fight for Life

Her bone marrow transplant was successful. The worst is over, and Fanny is grateful to be alive. She refers to the Icla da Silva Foundation as her “Angels”. We came into her life unexpectedly and provided critical support at a time when she needed it the most.

Fanny says she will be eternally grateful for the Icla da Silva Foundation. She is thankful for the life changing support she received.

You can help a patient like Fanny in their battle against blood cancer with a financial donation.

Your donation will help cover essential expenses like transportation, meals, and housing so a patient family can focus on healing.

Your gift will ensure that they won’t have to delay treatment.

Please donate today.

DONATE TODAY

Written by: Bret Itskowitch

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You Are Making a Difference!

A Social Worker Describes Her Experience with Patient Families who need financial assistance from the Icla da Silva Foundation

Cary, North Carolina

Tara McAteer is a clinical social worker with 18 years of experience. She specializes in supporting patients and families with acute and chronic medical conditions.

She recently shared her experience working with patients who needed financial assistance while in treatment to receive a life-saving bone marrow transplant. Below is Tara’s story.

The Patient Experience

Needless to say, life completely changes once you have a child diagnosed with a life-threatening disease, and they need to prepare for a bone marrow transplant.

The change impacts every single aspect of life for the patient, their parents, and even their siblings.

Imagine your child going through months of treatment and being told she needs more treatment or a different treatment.

Then you learn that a bone marrow transplant is the only thing that can potentially save or extend her life. It’s a frightening situation.

The families I have worked with move forward with courage and determination, but it’s impossible for anyone to predict the journey they will endure.

No one can say how many months their child will be in isolation, or the frequency of emergency room visits.

Nobody can estimate the number of readmissions or the exact length of time they will have to spend in post-transplant follow-up in the outpatient clinic.

“How Will I Make This Work?”

Every family has the same painful questions.

Will our insurance cover it? How much longer can I stay out of work? We don’t have any more savings. I already lost my job, how will our family survive?

What about my other children? Who is going to stay home with them, help them with homework, bring them to school?

This has gone on too long – how will I make this work?

Families who were financially stable before diagnosis, may not be in the same position after so many months or even years of treatment.

Many of my families were already experiencing financial hardship before their diagnosis.

The Icla da Silva Foundation

This is where the Icla da Silva Foundation comes into the picture. Their application is quick and completed in coordination with a transplant social worker like me.

Once approved, the assistance is immediate.

Most of the families I referred for support were being threatened with eviction or being evicted. Some had homes that were already in foreclosure.

What is so special about this organization is that part of the criteria for eligibility is treatment-based. Help is available to children scheduled to receive a transplant regardless of their diagnoses. They are helping patients with cancer, immunodeficiencies, genetic conditions, hematological illnesses, sickle cell disease, the list goes on.

In addition to financial support, the emotional impact of receiving assistance from the Icla da Silva Foundation is indescribable for most families. It allows the patient’s family to catch a breath, even if just for a moment before they need to redirect their attention to the next medical issue or the fear of what’s still to come.

The gratitude they feel is something that stays with them forever.

You are Making a Difference

No family can do it alone. No social worker can do it without the support of an organization like the Icla Da Silva Foundation.

Thank you to all of your generous donors! You are all making a difference.

Sincerely,
Tara McAteer, LCSW, ACSW, OSW-C

Thanks to Tara for sharing her perspective and experience. We are grateful for the work that she does.

Please consider making a donation to support a patient’s family on their difficult path to receive a bone marrow transplant. You will help keep food on the table or a roof over their head while a patient goes through treatment and transplant.

DONATE

 

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A Young Boy from Alaska Continues His Journey to a Cure

REMOVING BARRIERS: Owen’s Journey

Shishmaref, Alaska

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.

DONATE TODAY

You can watch the TikTok Owen’s Dad posted of his first transplant, shared on our YouTube channel.

Written by: Bret Itskowitch

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Supporting a Teenager on his Journey to a Bone Marrow Transplant

REMOVING BARRIERS: Jake’s Story

Columbia Station, Ohio

Meet Jake and his sister Bella.

Jake is a brave boy who fought a difficult journey with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). After being diagnosed with this aggressive form of blood cancer, he received treatment and went into remission. But then he relapsed and urgently needed a bone marrow transplant.

Luckily, his younger sister Bella was a matching donor, and Jake received a transplant.

Throughout treatment, Jake and his family faced many hardships. These included the financial strain of his mom having to stop working, and the need to stay at a Ronald McDonald house to be close to the hospital.

During recovery, Jake experienced painful mucositis that made it hard for him to eat.

Thanks to the IclaCares program, Jake and his family received much-needed assistance with meals and groceries. Your support helped reduce some of the stress and allowed them to focus on Jake’s recovery.

BECOME A SUPPORTER

Join Icla Cares by Supporting Patients and Their Families

Jake is still in recovery.

He just celebrated his 16th birthday. We wish him many healthy, Happy Birthdays in the years ahead.

You can make a difference in the life of a patient like Jake by making a donation.

Your gift provides critical assistance, including meal support during treatment. Help us continue to provide comfort and support to a patient on their journey to receive a bone marrow transplant.

Thank you.

 

DONATE TODAY

Written by: Bret Itskowitch

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Saving Lives for 30+ Years

The Icla da Silva Foundation has been providing logistical, emotional, and financial support to patients with diseases like blood cancer and sickle cell for more than thirty years.

For patients scheduled to receive a bone marrow or cord blood transplant, we encourage you to fill out the Patient Registration Form and request an application for support.

For supporters, your donation will provide more patients with critical needs on their journey to receive a bone marrow transplant. Please consider a financial gift to support our life-saving mission.

PATIENT REGISTRATION

MAKE A DONATION

 

 

 

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