Every family experiences great difficulty while their loved one battles a life-threatening disease. So many lives are thrown into turmoil once a diagnosis is revealed.
In addition to heart-wrenching concerns and fear, many struggle with the financial pain of keeping it all together.
This is the story of one patient’s family.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Luis was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
His only hope for a cure was a bone marrow transplant. But he lived in Las Vegas where there is no transplant center, so he had to travel to Southern CA to receive care and prepare for his transplant.
Although his family comes from a modest background, they made it work for several months. Unfortunately, medical complications ensued, and they eventually exhausted their savings.
Luis’ wife Madelourdes remained with him as his caregiver.
The Caregiver Requirement
Every transplant center requires a 24/7 caregiver to help a patient during treatment and transplant. It’s required by the medical team, but the expenses are not covered by many patients insurance. The cost of housing, transportation, and meals became too much for Luis’ family.
Their only source of income came from their daughter, who was living in Las Vegas. As a single mom working two jobs, she did the best she could.
Luis’ wife slept on two chairs at her husband’s bedside.
Assisting with Lodging and Meals
The Icla da Silva Foundation assists bone marrow transplant patients and their families during a very difficult time. Through our IclaCares program, we were able to provide funds to Luis’ family for lodging and meals.
The family will use the lodging funds sporadically so his wife and caregiver Madelourdes can get a decent night of sleep and a shower every once in awhile while her husband completes treatment.
As soon as they received the news, the family called us with tears of joy. They were overwhelmingly grateful for the support we provided.
We wish Luis a full recovery.
We were happy to help this family. We only wish we could do the same for more families in their urgent time of need. No one should have to sleep between two chairs while their loved one battles a life-threatening disease.
You Can Help
Your donation will make a difference to a patient family in desperate need. Every gift, no matter the size, will help a family who has a loved one on the difficult path to receive a bone marrow transplant.
Please consider making a donation to help a patient family like Luis’.
Fighting Cancer Includes Protecting a Patient from Eviction
REMOVING BARRIERS – LARISSA’S STORY
“Your foundation has saved my home, helped my children, and myself. I am just so grateful.”
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
Calle Ocho Music Festival – Not Giving Up
At 6 AM on Sunday, March 10, representatives from the Icla da Silva Foundation were at the Calle Ocho Music Festival in Miami, Florida.
For the team members who attended, it had nothing to do with music. It was all about supporting the family of Julian Morales, with the hope of finding a matching stem cell donor in order to save his life.
It was about Saving Julian.
Fighting For His Life
It was about setting up tables and organizing volunteers so that more people understood the need to join the Be The Match bone marrow registry. It was about eliminating the fear of joining and explaining the fact that only 7% of people on the registry are Hispanic. This is why patients with a Hispanic or Latino background have a more difficult time finding a match. There aren’t enough potential donors on the registry.
Being at Calle Ocho was about doing everything we can to give Julian a 2nd chance at life.
It was about adding more potential life-savers to the registry.
Watch Julian and his Mom on NBC Miami
Not Giving Up
Julian suffers from a rare, life-threatening blood disorder called Dyskeratosis Congenita and bone marrow failure. He has been suffering for 4 years. Since there is no match in Julian’s family, they need to find a donor who is not related. They have been searching for a match for 4 years. There is still no match for him on the Be The Match registry.
As you would expect, Julian’s mother Mayra is desperate to save her son’s life. She is pleading for help from the Hispanic community, “…it’s a matter of life and death.”
For the Icla da Silva Foundation, this past Sunday was about not giving up. We can listen to music later.
Right now we need to find a matching donor for Julian.
You can join the registry by clicking the link. You will receive a kit in the mail which is used to swab the inside of your cheek. When you return that kit to Be The Match, they will test your HLA type to see if you are a potential match.
You or someone you know may be a match for Julian. Please join and share with others.
Renata Coimbra is full of life. She is always smiling and spreads joy wherever she goes. She is very close with her family and friends, she worries about those less fortunate, and she regularly contributes to her church and her community. She is recently married, a positive role model, and faithfully leads others in prayer.
Renata was recently diagnosed with leukemia and is in desperate need of a bone marrow donor. She has begun an aggressive treatment of chemotherapy and she knows that she has a long and difficult path ahead, but she has faith that she will find a matching donor.
In 2001, she moved from Espirito Santo in southern Brazil, to Boston, Massachusetts, where she worked as a house manager and loving nanny for 13 years. Missing the tropical climate of her childhood, Renata moved to Florida in 2014, where she met and married her love, Danilo. Together, they enjoy music and movies, regularly attend church, and spend time with Danilo’s family, who has accepted her as their own.
Late last year, Renata was suffering from shortness of breath. After multiple visits with doctors and specialists, she was unexpectedly diagnosed with a lymphoma that had formed in her chest and attacked the bone marrow. It quickly developed into leukemia. She has been told that even with chemo treatments to fight the cancer in her blood, a bone marrow transplant will be necessary to ensure her survival. After multiple treatments and two hospitalizations in the short timespan since she has been diagnosed, she has been forced to quit her job and live a remarkably different lifestyle.
Before she got sick, Renata and Danilo enjoyed dancing and going to the beach on weekends. Although she misses work and her Zumba class, she has never lost faith that she will overcome this disease.
Renata’s faith is overwhelming. Early in the search, they found three matching donors. Unfortunately, none of them were ready to make the commitment to donate. Renata insists that she has the support of God, friends and family, and a matching donor will come through.
While we certainly hope that everyone who registers is able to stay committed if they ever receive the call, it is important to recognize that the vast majority of bone marrow patients require a non-surgical process called peripheral blood stem cell donation (PBSC).
A PBSC bone marrow transplant requires a donor to take injections of filgrastim over the course of 5 days, which increases the number of blood forming cells in your blood stream. On the day of donation, your blood is removed through a needle in one arm, passed into a machine that separates the blood forming cells that your body has produced, and then your blood is returned back into your body through the other arm.
The process is relatively simple.
Please consider registering to become a potential bone marrow donor for Renata and the many other patients who are looking for a match.