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.
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.
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.
Written by: Bret Itskowitch