Skip to main content
A Lifeline to Recovery – Everything’s Gonna Be Alright

REMOVING BARRIERS TO TREATMENT: Robert’s Story

Port Washington, WI

Bob’s world was shattered when he was diagnosed with blood cancer. He was already working two jobs to shoulder the financial burdens that included medical debt. His diagnosis forced him to stop working, and the looming bone marrow transplant meant he would be out of work for months.

The Icla da Silva Foundation stepped in to offer a financial lifeline. We helped pay the family’s utility bills while Bob was in treatment, and provided funds for “Kathy’s House,” a haven near his transplant center for post-transplant recovery.

Bob told us that he was so grateful for the extra help. “I never wanted to ask, but the social workers convinced me. This had made all the difference.” With their worries eased, Bob can focus on his battle, and a chance to fight for his future and his family.

Bob’s t-shirt says it all, ‘Everything’s Gonna be Alright.’

We wish him a full recovery following his bone marrow transplant.

Your support can offer a family like Bob’s a fighting chance in their battle against blood cancer. Please consider making a donation to fund critical needs like lodging, meals, and transportation while a patient is in treatment to receive a bone marrow transplant.

MAKE A DONATION

Written by: Bret Itskowitch

Share this:
From Caregiver to Receiver: Helping a Patient’s Journey

REMOVING BARRIERS TO TREATMENT: Donna’s Story

Floosmoor, IL

Donna’s cancer diagnosis brought a daunting challenge. Treatment meant months without work, leaving her to face mounting bills.

She needed assistance while preparing for a bone marrow transplant, but was afraid to ask.

Donna has always been the one helping others. She has lived a life of giving, caring for elderly family members, and taking neighborhood children to summer camp through her church.

Now it was her turn to ask for help, but it put her in an uncomfortable position.

Thanks to the generosity of our donors, the Icla da Silva Foundation stepped in to provide critical support during treatment. Donna told us that when the email came through, indicating that she was approved there was only $12 in her bank account. We provided crucial funds for groceries and transportation to medical appointments. We also helped her keep the lights on.

Donna’s bone marrow transplant was successful and we wish her a full recovery.

She looks forward to being the one who gives again.

Your generosity can make a life-changing difference for someone like Donna in their most vulnerable moment. Please donate today.

MAKE A DONATION

Written by: Bret Itskowitch

Share this:
“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

Share this:
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

Share this:
Helping a New Father Fight Blood Cancer

REMOVING BARRIERS TO TREATMENT: Haitham’s Story

Palatine, IL

Recently, Haitham’s world overflowed with joy. He and his wife Nicole welcomed their first child, a beautiful baby boy.

Two months later, their excitement was shattered by devastating news.

A Life-Threatening Diagnosis

Haitham just wasn’t feeling right. He was struggling with fatigue and joint pain for months. Red spots suddenly appeared on his body. His wife is a Dental Hygienist; when she noticed that his gums were swollen and bleeding, she demanded he visit urgent care to get blood work.

The blood tests revealed crushing news, this new father was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). He was recommended to receive a bone marrow transplant.

A Grueling Financial Burden

With a newborn baby at home, the physical, emotional, and financial burden of blood cancer felt insurmountable.

Haitham had not been able to work since his diagnosis. He could barely stand from the fatigue. His wife Nicole was ready to return to work following maternity leave. But now with the transplant coming, she had to switch to a part-time schedule to be his caregiver.

Things were very difficult for me and my wife,” Haitham recalls. Just as they were on the brink of losing their home and car, a social worker at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, connected them with the Icla da Silva Foundation.

Giving Him A Fighting Chance

Through the Icla Cares program, we provided funds to ensure they could afford housing and transportation while he underwent a bone marrow transplant.

Thanks to our donors, we provided support at a critical moment in their battle against blood cancer. The grant helped keep a roof over their head and maintain their only vehicle while he was in treatment. “It gave me peace of mind,” Haitham says, “knowing we wouldn’t lose everything.”

Fortunately, the transplant was successful. Haitham is currently in remission and slowly recovering.

He is not yet able to return to work, but he is strong enough to care for their son while his wife is at work. We wish him a full recovery and many cherished years with their baby boy.

You Can Help

The Icla da Silva Foundation offers support and hope for a family in their battle against blood cancer. For a patient in financial crisis, we provide grants for meals, transportation, and housing while they are in treatment to receive a bone marrow transplant.

Your support empowers a patient like Haitham to focus on healing. Your donation will ensure a family has the resources they need to fight a life-threatening battle.

Please donate today.

DONATE TODAY

Written by: Bret Itskowitch

Share this:
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

Share this:
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

Share this:
Happy to be Home with His Family

REMOVING BARRIERS: Marc’s Story

Halfmoon, New York

After several years of unexplained pain in his stomach, Marc was diagnosed with myelofibrosis. It’s a rare cancer of the bone marrow that disrupts the production of blood cells.

His only cure was a bone marrow transplant.

Marc received a transplant, but he encountered many complications during treatment.

A Long Recovery Process

Marc was in treatment much longer than expected. A blood clot lead to encephalopathy. His heart stopped several times, which led to a pacemaker. He had GVHD and he may need to have a liver transplant.

He was expecting to be away from home for 1-3 months, but it took more than 6 months.

As is usual with most transplant centers, he was required to stay within 30 miles of the medical center during outpatient treatment. But Marc, his wife, and their teenage twin boys live 150 miles away.

The Caregiver Experience

Marc’s wife Talin stayed with him as a caregiver.

The transplant team requires a dedicated caregiver before they will even schedule a bone marrow transplant. Someone must be available full-time to help the patient during transplant and recovery.

A caregiver assists with transportation to the outpatient clinic, maintaining a medication schedule, and keeping an eye out for changes in the patients condition or signs of infection.

Of course, a big part of the job is love and attention.

Overcoming Obstacles/Grateful for Assistance

Marc had gone through diagnosis, treatment, and a bone marrow transplant. This was followed by medical complications and a long road to recovery. All during that time his wife took on caregiver responsibilities.

They were both far from home for 6 months. Their boys would visit by train.

Obviously, neither of them could work during treatment and outpatient recovery, but the extra expenses kept coming in.

Thanks to the support of donors like you, the Icla da Silva Foundation helped fund accommodations and meals while Marc was in treatment.

He is grateful.

“It was a relief to have financial help, especially with my wife and I being out of work and having many more expenses being in the city longer than expected. We were both shocked and became emotional by the generosity.

It is such a wonderful organization that can take a tragic event in one’s life and turn it around to ease the burden of others going through a similar situation.”   -Marc M.

Looking to the Future

Marc is still under medical supervision, but at least he is at home surrounded by his family.

Still, we’re sure he would like to get back to the way things used to be.

Marc was an 8th grade social studies teacher, dean of students, and coach for both football and basketball. He hopes he’ll be well enough to return to work in the future.

He would also like to take a much-needed vacation.

Before all that, Marc must wait for his immunity to improve. He just wants to be able to see his family and friends without masks or restrictions.

We hope that happens soon, and we wish the best for Marc and his family. The Icla da Silva Foundation was happy to play a role in his recovery.

You Can Help a Patient in their Time of Need

Your donation will help a patient overcome obstacles during treatment and put them on a path to recovery.

Please donate to ease the unexpected burdens of a patient in treatment to receive a marrow transplant.

Support our mission by making a donation today!

DONATE TODAY

Written by: Bret Itskowitch

Share this:
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

 

Share this:
Assisting the Patient Caregiver Experience

Las Vegas, Nevada

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’.

Thanks for reading.

donate

Written by: Bret Itskowitch

Share this: