Now that I have "recovered" from the HLH700 of the Akin Foundation (crazy!), the Ronald McDonald Gala and the fun Hope Gala of the Icla Da Silva Foundation I wanted to get back to my blog which I have shamefully ignored. These past months have been amazing, not just because sitting on a saddle for 7 hours is such good feeling (try it!) but mainly because in 10 days I have seen so much good that despite my Wall street background I can happily say that there is much good out there. Meeting so many people who truly feel that Doing Good feels Great was a very enriching experience. And yes it felt great to do good.
Our friends, family, V and I have always been big believers in Paying-It-Forward. Whether it was cancer, diabetes, autism ... when we could we would all help by donating money. Life was calm, sweet and in hindsight slow for V and I, but giving a $100 here and there made us feel good. Little did we know how far those few dollars reached; how many people needed it and how many people would benefit. It was a small thing we did and..hey!.. we even got a tax deduction, what more do you want?
It was not until V was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, late onset of juvenile diabetes, that we started realizing that illnesses were real, that illnesses can affect anybody at any time and that it puts people's lives upside down in a fraction of a second. V suffered a major blow, but she conquered it and became stronger from it as time passed. Giving became more important to us, we even committed with friends in cycling 20 miles for a cure for Diabetes in the Tour the Cure. Our team was named Super Heroes In Training (later we found out in short we were S.H.I.T. ... hello!!). With the support of friends and family we raised significant funds for the American Diabetes Association. It opened our eyes to the fact that people really needed help. As years went by we raised more and more funds. So it made us feel good, we got a bigger tax break and... hey!... it actually helped people, what more do you want?
Then s.h.i.t. actually happened, HLH didn't just turn our world around. It rocked our world to the core. And because of the thousands of people (friends, family and strangers) that showed support, the doctors, nurses, medical and non-medical staff, cincy angels and many others we were able to glue all the pieces back together by saving Miabelle and rebuilding a close to normal life. Thanks* to HLH and the BMT journey we were introduced to many amazing people and organizations of which the Icla Da Silva Foundation is one. Who?! What?!
We had barely heard of Bone Marrow Transplants, marrow/stem cell donors and certainly not of the Icla Da Silva Foundation (www.icla.org). After a little reading and speaking with Airam Da Silva, president of the foundation, we were informed that Icla Da Silva Foundation was by far the largest not-for-profit recruiter of marrow/stem cells donors for the marrow registry (Be the Match) in the USA. The Icla team registers approximately 38,000 people every year (note this is huge), putting it at the top of all recruiters worldwide.
And yet they banged the drums loud and clear in an effort to raise donors for our little girl, with Japanese DNA (V? Explain!), who had a 1 in a million chance of finding a donor. And despite the odds, they spread the word in the USA at the speed of light as time was ticking away fast. Airam knew very well that without a donor Miabelle had no chance. He had lived it himself years prior when his young sister Icla passed, from Leukemia, at 13 ... because the world could not find her a donor. Icla, like many others, do not even get a chance to fight another day. So Airam mobilized volunteers, his team and tens of thousands in dollar of funding to organize all these drives. All this to give our little girl the chance Icla never had: that one chance in a million to fight back.
This is our second year at the Hope Gala of the foundation. We enjoy every minute of the event. From the auction to the good company, the good music and the great speakers it is a perfect event for a noble cause. But the highpoint of the evening is a true magical moment that makes you realize that heroes don't just live in books and movies: A donor meeting the recipient for the first time. In other words, the patient meets for the first time her/his hero without which she/he would have died. It is a very powerful and emotional moment that no movie or actor could ever reproduce. During this year's Hope Gala a young girl met her hero. What do you say when you meet your hero? This moment captured in this video is priceless. Heroes don't wear capes, they are ordinary people among us doing extraordinary things.
Please join us next year for this moment!! It was amazing!! If you want to join next year, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you an invite.
It took everyone 5 long months, lots of effort, money and time, and yet no adult donor was ever found for Miabelle increasing the odds that she would not make it. Finally two less than perfect matches (reduces survival chances) from umbilical cord donors were found. Although the less than good odds Miabelle is a happy 3 year old toddler today. Our commitment to the Icla Da Silva Foundation is to pay it forward so no one has to suffer the excruciating pain of waiting months for a donor and not finding one. We are committed to their cause of matching donors with patients so heroes are born and lives are saved! Today supporting the foundation makes us feel good, we still get a tax break, we help people and... hey!!... it actually saves lives, what more do you want?
Doing Good feels Great!!! Join us: Please support the Icla Da Silva Foundation by donating and register to become a donor today. Help save a live!!! Become a Donor, Become a Hero: http://www.icla.org .
*"Thanks" is a tough word to use in the context of HLH because still today we hate the three letter illness more than anything.