September 14, 2023 | Lead News
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.
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.