Patient Cured of Blood Disorder Finally Meets Bone Marrow Donor as Recruitment Center Marks 20 Years of Life-Saving Campaigns

Share Article

At a celebration of its 20th anniversary, The Icla da Silva Foundation, the largest bone marrow recruitment center for the Be the Match Registry, and specializing in the recruitment of the under-represented African-American, Asian and Hispanic communities, a Florida patient with a blood disorder met for the first time the Puerto Rican donor of the bone marrow cells that helped cure her. New York City Speaker Christine C. Quinn was honored for her efforts to make New York a healthier city.

Celebrating 20 years of conducting campaigns to recruit bone marrow registrants, as well as the emotional meeting of a blood disorder patient and her bone marrow donor, the Icla da Silva Foundation honored Christine C. Quinn, Speaker of the New York City Council, at a fundraising gala held on Wednesday, October 3, 2012 at Gotham Hall.

More than 300 people gathered to mark the success of the Foundation's recruitment efforts, which annually register more than 40,000 potential donors. People with sickle cell disease and severe aplastic anemia, as well as leukemia, require bone marrow transplants. For the 70% of patients who do not find an appropriate match among family members, their only hope for a donor is through the matching process conducted by the Be The Match Registry, operated by the National Marrow Donor Program. On Christmas Day, 2009, Janet Rodriguez, of Wellington, Florida, a patient with the blood disorder Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS), received bone marrow cells from Yelitza Gonzalez Crespo, of Arecibo, Puerto Rico. The two women met for the first time and celebrated their life-saving and life-giving relationship.

“The Icla da Silva Foundation has an aggressive goal to raise funds and resources, especially to aid the families who struggle with overwhelming medical bills in a tough economy,” said Airam da Silva, President of the Foundation. “We thank our bone marrow registrants and donors, plus our financial donors, for the successes of the past 20 years and we plan to help as many lives as possible in the next 20 years.”

Speaker Quinn is an accomplished and recognized citywide leader who has worked to make New York a healthier and more equitable city. She was first elected in 1999. Prior to becoming the Speaker of the Council in 2006, she served as the Chair of the Council's powerful Health Committee where she worked to make healthcare more accessible.

"The public needs to know that it is easy to donate bone marrow and similar to donating blood. The Icla da Silva Foundation is energetically reaching out to key audiences to recruit more donors from the African-American, Asian and Hispanic communities, where donors are under-represented. It is an honor to receive this award and I salute the Foundation for its successes," said Speaker Quinn.

The celebration, held at Gotham Hall, 1356 Broadway at 36th Street, was emceed by actor Neil Butterfield. Butterfield has been on TV shows such as Burn Notice, Sex and the City and Law and Order. The celebration included a cocktail reception with a silent auction featuring one-of-a-kind items and experiences, a sit-down dinner and dancing. All proceeds will support the foundation’s patient services and bone marrow recruitment programs.

Anheuser-Busch InBev, Ogilvy & Mather and Banco do Brasil were among the gala sponsors.

About the Icla da Silva Foundation
The Icla da Silva Foundation, a nonprofit organization under section 501(c) 3 of the IRS Code, was established in June of 1992 after the death of Icla da Silva, a thirteen-year-old Brazilian girl who had leukemia. She died after intense efforts by her family, friends and neighbors to find a matching donor.

The Icla da Silva Foundation's mission is 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. The Foundation has become the largest bone marrow recruitment center for the Be the Match Registry, operated by the National Marrow Donor Program. For more information, please visit or call (212) 593-0474.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Janet Falk
Email >
Visit website