REMOVING BARRIERS: OWEN’S JOURNEY
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.
You can watch the TikTok Owen’s Dad posted of his first transplant, shared on our YouTube channel.
Written by: Bret ItskowitchIcla Cares Helped Darphelia Receive Her Treatment and Transplant
The Icla da Silva Foundation removed another barrier and one more life was saved. The short story below details how we recently helped a patient in need.
Everyone recognizes that gas is expensive, especially now. The cost is particularly high in California.
But what if you didn’t have a choice?
I understand we can’t affect the price of gas, but what if your life depended on a 30-mile car ride to the nearest cancer center? What if you had to take this trip three times per week to receive your life-saving treatment?
This was Darphelia’s barrier.
Due to Multiple Myeloma, a life-threatening disease, Darphelia wasn’t allowed to take public transport or carpool with others.
She certainly couldn’t skip a day and just stay home.
Her illness, and her doctors, had pulled her out of work a while ago. And she had already gone through her retirement savings.
Darphelia told us that this was the first time in her life with no income.
What was she to do?
Icla Cares worked closely with the social worker from UC San Diego Health to get Darphelia the support she needed. We removed her barrier so she could receive repeated, high-dose chemotherapy treatments and then an autologous blood stem cell transplant.
The transplant was successful.
Darphelia is eating again, “eating clean” as she says. She has gained back some energy and is happy just to be able to walk around the block.
“Thank you! I can’t say how much I appreciate the help that I received. It’s difficult to judge a situation without having gone through it yourself.” – Darphelia Lowe, Multiple Myeloma Survivor
Thanks to our friends and supporters, we removed one more barrier and another patient received their transplant.
If you haven’t already, please consider making a donation to help us remove barriers to treatment for patients in need.
Your gift matters more than you know.
Thanks for reading.
Written by: Bret ItskowitchRemoving Katie’s Barrier to Treatment
We received a heartfelt message from a blood cancer patient last week. It read simply, “You are the answer to my prayer.”
The message was sent to us by Katie. She is a single mom, diagnosed with leukemia whose only cure is a bone marrow transplant.
For 29 years, we have supported patients who require a bone marrow transplant. We are very familiar with the challenges and barriers to receiving a life–saving transplant. It usually begins with the search for a matching donor.
Katie already had a matching donor, and she was ready for her transplant. But the transplant team would not schedule her until she could make arrangements for a Caregiver.
A Caregiver was required to assist her for an extended period after the transplant.
Katie’s insurance, like most, did not cover the expense of a Caregiver.
This was Katie’s barrier.
She has been unable to work since her diagnosis and she required a little support. Fortunately, the Icla da Silva Foundation provided Katie with the financial support she needed to arrange for a Caregiver.
Katie is scheduled to receive her transplant.
The Icla da Silva Foundation helps patients in need of a bone marrow transplant by removing barriers. We do this by providing emotional, logistical, and critical financial support. Our goal is to ensure that more patients will receive their transplants.
For patients demonstrating financial need, we help with expenses that usually aren’t covered by insurance and often prohibit treatment. These include transportation, temporary housing, and caregiver expenses while in treatment.
You can help us save more lives! Consider making a financial donation to support our mission. Together we will help more patients and save more lives.
make a donation
If you are a patient waiting for a bone marrow transplant, and in need of support, please submit a request
submit a request
Thanks for reading.
Written by: Bret ItskowitchExpanding Our Mission: Removing Barriers to Treatment
Expanding Our Mission: Removing Barriers
We recently expanded our life-saving mission to put greater focus on removing barriers to treatment. For the past 29 years, the Icla da Silva Foundation has helped patients in need of a bone marrow or cord blood transplant by recruiting potential donors. In 2022, we are focused on providing emotional, logistical, and financial support for more patients in need of a bone marrow transplant.
For patients demonstrating financial need, our IclaCares program is awarding grants that are specific to the needs of transplant patients.
⇒ We are helping more patients receive their transplants.
The Icla da Silva Foundation saves lives of patients with diseases whose only cure is a bone marrow or cord blood transplant by providing emotional, logistical, and financial support to remove barriers to treatment.
A life-threatening disease, like blood cancer or sickle cell, is never expected. It presents an unthinkable challenge to the entire family. As a result, the Icla da Silva Foundation has always provided patients and their families with necessary emotional and logistical support. But for patients who demonstrate a financial need, we are putting a greater focus on enabling financial assistance.
IclaCares – Removing Barriers
Even after a matching bone marrow donor is found, there are many costs associated with a transplant that aren’t covered by insurance. For many patients, transplants and treatments are not available close to home. Through our IclaCares program, we are helping more patients afford expenses like transportation to a specialty medical center, housing, and even family meals while a child is in treatment.
We are also assisting with caretaker expenses. A caretaker is required by most transplant teams but rarely covered by insurance providers.
⇒ We are making it easier for more patients to receive their transplants.
You can help us support more patients in need. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation using the button below. Thank you!
MAKE A DONATION
Are you a patient scheduled to receive a bone marrow transplant? Are you in need of support? Please click our patient registration and submit a request.
Together we are helping more patients and saving more lives.
Do You Remember Alfredo?
Even though a donor hasn’t been found, Alfredo is still smiling.
He is the little boy from Chicago with a rare blood disorder. We have been helping him search for a matching blood stem cell donor.
He has been searching the registry for 5 years.
We recently ran a Facebook campaign about Alfredo and many people expressed an interest in helping.
Almost 200 people signed up online to become potential donors.
Although he still hasn’t found a matching donor, Alfredo seems to be doing OK. He was excited to go back to school, he started the 4th grade in September.
Would you be interested in helping us support more patients like Alfredo? Even the smallest donation will help blood cancer patients during their search and treatment.
Your gift gives patients and their families more hope for a positive outcome. It allows them to focus on treatment rather than bills.
Please support the Icla da Silva Foundation and our mission to save more lives.
HELP US SUPPORT MORE PATIENTS
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.
MAKE A DONATION