On Sunday, April 28th, The Icla Da Silva Foundation held it’s annual MatchMaker 5K Run on Roosevelt Island. The Icla Da Silva Foundation was founded in 1992 after 13 year old Icla da Silva, who had been fighting leukemia for three years, succumbed to the disease while waiting for a bone marrow transplant in New York City. Today it has become the largest recruitment center in the United States for the Be The Match Registry, which is operated by the National Marrow Donor Program.
I was happy to shoot this event, having lost a good friend to leukemia a few decades ago. Her name was Nadine, and she was beautiful and fun, and she lost her life way too early at the age of 22. Back then, bone marrow transplants were only in their infancy as a treatment.
Because a bone marrow transplant requires close genetic compatibility between donor and recipient, matches are greater within the same ethnic group. For this reason, The Icla Da Silva Foundation continues to be a major force behind creating a more ethically diverse registry in the United States. It has recruited more than 185,000 potential donors for the Be The Match Registry while adding 39,000 more donors in 2010 alone.
I feel grateful to have been asked by my friend, Martha Sachser, to photograph the event. It was a beautiful, sunny, warm day. We had a great turn out. It was a blast to photograph. There was lots of family, friends, runners, dancing, and socializing. Batala, an amazing collection of women drummers playing Afro Brazilian Samba Reggae entertained us.
I’m still amazed that a 13 year old ran the 5k in like 21 minutes. Wow. I could do that time in a cab, maybe. If you’d like more information about the foundation or would like to sign up to the registry, please visit these sites: