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Another Barrier Removed When No One Else Could Help

 

The Icla da Silva Foundation goes the ‘extra mile’ to ensure that another life is saved.

Young Herzel was inspired to become a nurse after surviving thyroid cancer in 2017. The remarkable care that she received as a patient impacted her greatly, and she enrolled in nursing school with a desire to help others.

But while preparing for her exam to become a Certified Dialysis Nurse, Herzel was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML).

A bone marrow transplant was her only chance for a cure, and there were no matching donors for her on the registry.

Finding a Donor

The bone marrow transplant team at New York-Presbyterian / Weill Cornell Medical Center acted fast to test her brother Reggie back in the Philippines as a potential donor.

Luckily, he was a 100% match.

However, this fantastic news still presented a barrier.

Herzel is a smart, hard-working young woman. Although she was unable to maintain her employment during so many visits and treatments at the hospital, she kept her living expenses low and paid her bills on time.

But the expense to bring her brother to the U.S., so he could transplant his stem cells, was unaffordable at the moment. Her savings had already been depleted.

She didn’t know what to do. Her doctors wanted to schedule the transplant as soon as possible.

No organization was able to fund international travel for her donor.

Removing Barriers

A social worker at New York-Presbyterian contacted the Icla da Silva Foundation. After gathering and organizing the necessary paperwork, and thanks to the generous supporters of the Foundation, not only did we provide the funds, we made the flight reservations.

Within days, this life-threatening financial barrier was removed and Herzl’s brother arrived in New York for the donation. The transplant was successful and Reggie saved his sister’s life. They spent a few days together before he returned home to the Philippines.

Giving Back

The gift of life that Herzel received only strengthened her desire to help others.

She passed her nursing exams and recently began working for the NYC Department of Health. Herzel is thankful for the support that she received and has applied to Volunteer for the Icla da Silva Foundation.

We asked Herzel what she would say to the donors who made her brother’s trip possible.

“I want to thank everyone for giving me this opportunity to live a healthy life again. I couldn’t be any more grateful for the Icla da Silva Foundation. I want to help the Foundation as much as I can so other patients like me can have the same opportunity for life.”

You can help us support more patients like Herzel. Your donation will remove barriers for patients needing a bone marrow or cord blood transplant.

Your donation will save lives.

DONATE today

Written by: Bret Itskowitch

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Help Us Save Juwan

Juwan Adams lives in Abington, PA, just north of Philadelphia. He is a Senior at Abington High School where he is a Drumline Captain, a National Honor Society scholar, and he holds a 4.25 GPA.

In his spare time, Juwan volunteers with pediatric cancer patients.

For the past 4 years, he has also been battling Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Juwan urgently needs a stem cell transplant to survive.

The Cure

The only cure for Juwan is to find a matching stem cell donor. His family has been tested and his doctors have been searching the Be The Match registry.

But there is still no match for Juwan…and his time is running out.

The Challenge

The challenge is finding a donor with a similar ethnic background. The chances of a Black blood cancer patient like Juwan finding a match is only 23%. White patients have a 77% chance of finding a matching donor.

There simply aren’t enough African Americans included on the registry.

Not yet anyway.

The Search

His friends, his family, and even his high school have been holding marrow drives, asking people to join the registry. He has received support from Penn State and the University of Pennsylvania. Even the Philadelphia SixersMatisse Thybulle has been showing his support and calling on fans to register in case they are a match for Juwan.

But there is still no match.

Could it be you?

Please join the registry on behalf of Juwan. If you aren’t a match for him, you may match another patient. 14,000 patients are searching for their life-saving donor every year. Click the link below and you will be asked to set up an account online. Be The Match will mail you a kit to swab the inside of your cheek. Once you return the kit, you will be included on the registry.

If you match a patent in need, you will receive a call asking you to donate your cells and they will walk you through the process.

Donating

80% of transplants use the PBSC method, which is similar to donating plasma. In the time between breakfast and lunch, you may be able to save someone’s life by donating your stem cells.

It doesn’t cost anything and they don’t even use your insurance. Be The Match will take care of everything.

Please join today. Join for Juwan.

join the registry

Help us spread the word. Share Juwan’s story so we can increase the ethnic makeup of the donor registry. You can host a drive or find more information about getting involved here.

Together we can save more lives.

Written by: Bret Itskowitch

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Still Smiling – David Gonzales Shares His Story

David Gonzales shares his story from Centro Church in Dallas, Texas.

David has Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, recurring 4 times in his life. He has undergone 415 days of chemo and radiation and he is currently in remission.

Despite his disease, he still smiles. He is living his life and he continues to support his community by holding bone marrow drives with the Icla da Silva Foundation.

Hispanic and Latino persons who are suffering from various blood cancers, only have a 23% chance of finding a matching donor. A 23% chance at a life-saving cure.

There simply aren’t enough Latinos included on the registry.

A matching bone marrow or stem cell donor is the only cure for many patients.

Together, we can increase the likelihood of finding a match by asking as many people as possible to join the Be The Match registry.

join the registry

Watch the short video below where Dave shares his story. After you join the registry, share with your family and friends so they may also join the registry. Help us change the odds…help us save more lives.

Written by Bret Itskowitch, special thanks to Andres David Lopez for shooting and editing.

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