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Icla da Silva Foundation

June 2016
Airam da Silva, MPH, Founder & CEO of Icla da Silva Foundation

 

About Icla da Silva Foundation

The Icla da Silva Foundation is the largest recruitment center for the Be The Match® Registry in the United States. It recruits over 38,000 new potential bone marrow donors every year, with a strong focus on minority communities. 

The Icla da Silva Foundation was established in 1992, in memory of a 13-year-old Brazilian girl named Icla da Silva. After three years of fighting leukemia, Icla passed away in New York City, where she had come hoping to get a life-saving treatment: a bone marrow transplant. She never found a matching donor. 

With offices across the East Coast of the United States and Puerto Rico, the Icla da Silva Foundation is continuously expanding its efforts in providing assistance and hope to thousands of families in the United States and all over the world.

The mission of the Icla da Silva Foundation is to save lives by recruiting bone marrow donors and providing support services to children and adults with leukemia and other diseases treatable by stem cell transplants. The Icla da Silva Foundation is a nonprofit organization under section 501(c) (3) of the IRS Code.

Providing Essential Support to Patients and their Families

Photo: Patient Laura Rodriguez (left) from Fort Lauderdale, Florida with the person who saved her life, her bone marrow donor Grace Marie Rivera from Puerto Rico. Their emotional first meeting took place live on Spanish television.

At the Icla da Silva Foundation, we know what it means to have a loved one suffering from a critical medical condition, so we take to our hearts the mission of supporting our patients and their families.

Assisting families from the United States and abroad, we provide patients with information, financial and emotional support. We often work closely with family members of patients looking for a bone marrow donor and we tailor marrow drives according to the patient’s ethnicity.

We also refer patients to treatment centers across the country according to the patient’s condition, so that different medical opinions can be taken into account. We also help families to navigate the confusing medical care system. 

Adding Marrow Donors to the Be The Match® Registry

At the Icla da Silva Foundation, we hold over 2,000 events to register bone marrow donors every year.  Our staff educates people about how easy it is to save a life by joining the Be The Match registry, and what it entails to sign up as a bone marrow donor. 

By holding marrow drives in schools, universities, churches and different organizations across the country, we teach communities the steps of marrow and Peripheral Blood Stem Cell (PBSC) Donation. We want to make sure those who join the registry will be willing to make a donation in case they are a match to a patient in need.

For example, the Matchmaker 5K Run/Walk is an annual fund-raising event held by the Icla da Silva Foundation on Roosevelt Island in New York City where participants enjoy views of the Manhattan skyline and the East River.

 As patients with a racially diverse background face a greater challenge in finding a donor, we work closely with the Hispanic, Asian, African and Native American communities to raise awareness about the need for a more diverse registry. With a multicultural staff and a large network of volunteers and organizations, we tailor campaigns and educational programs according to the need of each community.

Cord Blood Education

The Icla da Silva Foundation is excited to partner with  Cord Blood Registry® (CBR®) and Parent’s Guide to Cord Blood Foundation to share information about both public donation and family storage of cord blood.

Patients who belong to ethnic minorities are the most likely to have a cord blood transplant instead of a bone marrow transplant.  To help educate diverse communities about the options of saving or donating cord blood, the Icla da Silva Foundation distributes educational brochures from the Parent’s Guide to Cord Blood Foundation that are available in over a dozen languages.

As part of CBR’s efforts to reach an increasing number of Hispanic families that may benefit from the private storage or public donation of cord blood, CBR covers the cost of printing and distributing educational brochures via the Icla da Silva Foundation.

Join Us

You can support the work of the Icla Da Silva Foundation by registering as a bone marrow donor, giving a financial donation, or volunteering at an event. Our volunteers dedicate an average of 2,700 hours per year. We hope to hear from you.

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