Icla da Silva Foundation Hope Gala
On October 18, 2017, the Icla Da Silva Foundation held its annual Hope Gala – a fundraising benefit to support patients in need of a bone marrow transplant -- at Guastavino’s in New York City. The annual Gala is the highlight of the season, bringing together benefactors and friends of the foundation for an unforgettable evening. This year marked the 25th anniversary of the organization’s dedication to saving lives.
The extravagant event was attended by business leaders, top influencers, major philanthropists, and many past recipients who enjoyed an evening of inspiration and action. The affair celebrated the foundation’s work to encourage everyday people to step up and become a donor.
The evening began at 6:30 with a cocktail reception, which was followed by a seated dinner at 7:30, when guests were greeted with a homemade soft dinner roll. An appetizer of a napoleon of grilled vegetables was followed by a main course of pepper crusted filet mignon. Caramelized peach cobbler was served for dessert. Throughout the evening, guests were able to bid on the silent auction which was stocked full of incredible finds. The Gala would go on to raise a grand total of $400,000 dollars.
The program continued with the awards presentation. Dr. Jeffrey Chell, CEO Emeritus of Be The Match was presented with the Legacy of Hope Award while East River Medical Imaging, a medical diagnostic imaging center based in New York City, received the Healthcare Leadership Award. Both of these awards were presented by Traci Fox, a patient who has been with the organization for over 10 years, and who has yet to find a match. “She takes an oral chemotherapy drug daily and except for occasional fatigue, is tolerating the medicine well and never complains. I want to find a match for my daughter, and the people in this room tonight gives me hope,” said Traci’s father.
"There are people who are alive because of the work we do,” said Icla da Silva Foundation’s President and brother of Icla, Airam da Silva. “Our job is not done, until every patient that needs a bone marrow transplant, receives one. Legacy is not leaving something for people, it’s leaving something in people. It’s because of Icla that today we continue to save lives.”
The evening's high point was the emotional first-time meeting between a patient and his life-saving bone marrow donor. Bone marrow patients are not able to meet their donors until at least one year after a successful transplant. Tancrede Bouveret met his life saving bone marrow donor, Samantha, for the first time. The two ran across the stage and gave each other the biggest hug. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. “A part of me is with him now, I feel like we forever bonded. I would do this again in a heartbeat,” said Samantha when asked if she would donate again. Samantha also had a message for the people who are hesitant about donating: “imagine yourself in that person’s shoes, what if it was you or a member of your family that needed a lifesaving match, you would not be hesitating at all.” After the emotional meeting, everyone got onto the dance floor and partied the night away.
There are still so many people in the world that need lifesaving matches. Do your part and sign up to be a donor. People often think of bone marrow donation as a very painful procedure. However, this is not the case. Registering to be a donor involves nothing more than filling in a form followed by a self-administered and painless cheek cell swab using four Q-tips, which are then packed up and sent through the mail to be processed and eventually stored in the National Marrow Donor Program Registry. In only ten to 15 percent of cases is it necessary to administer a general anesthetic and remove cells from the pelvic bone, which results in few days of soreness – alleviated, say the donors. Please go sign up to be a donor so we can help people like Traci and thousands of other patients like her that are waiting for life saving bone marrow transplants
ABOUT TANCREDE BOUVERET, BONE MARROW PATIENT:
Tancrède was born at the Naval Medical Center of San Diego on May 14, 2004. His father, Luc Bouveret, always dreamed of having a child, and so with the help of a surrogate in California, Tancrede entered the world.
In March of 2015, Tancrede was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS), which progressed into Leukemia. The fathers were notified that their son had less than a 10% chance of survival. The only cure is to receive a matching bone marrow transplant. After several months, a 90% match came through. With great hope, the fathers asked to wait a little bit longer for a 100% match. Three weeks later, in July of 2015, a 100% matching donor was identified in Madison, Wisconsin. Tancrede received his transplant on July 29, 2015.
Due to complications, he spent almost 2 years in the hospital. His body needed an additional transplant of lymphocytes, which the donor agreed to, without hesitation. Tancrede is now 13 years old and despite his illness he continues to lead a normal life. Although still in recovery, taking an abundant amount of medicines, antibiotics, monthly chemotherapy and blood treatments, he is persistent on keeping his above average attendance in school. Tancrede has a knack for learning. He speaks four languages, is socially conscious, and has his own YouTube channel.
His fathers insist that none of this would be possible with the Icla da Silva Foundation and his life-saving bone marrow donor.
ABOUT ICLA DA SILVA FOUNDATION
The Icla da Silva Foundation was established in 1992, in memory of the 13-year-old Brazilian girl named Icla da Silva. After two years of fighting leukemia, Icla passed away in New York City, where she came hoping to get her life saving treatment: a bone marrow transplant. The young girl never found a matching donor. Upon her death, her family established the Foundation with the mission to save lives by recruiting bone marrow donors and by providing support services to children and adults with leukemia and other diseases treatable by marrow transplants.
Now in its 25th year, the Foundation, The Icla da Silva Foundation is the largest recruitment center for the Be The Match Registry in the United States. The Foundation holds over 2,000 bone marrow drives every year. It recruits over 38,000 new potential bone marrow donors every year, with a strong focus on minority communities.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT ICLA DA SILVA FOUNDATION: https://icla.org/
Instagram: @Icladasilvafdn | #BeTheMatch
Special thanks to Jennifer