Life Fest 2010: Celebrating a decade of life. It has been a remarkable decade for the GIST community as scientific discovery, medical treatment and drug development have put GIST at the cutting edge of cancer treatment and care. Between 2000 and 2010, GIST has gone from being a misdiagnosed rare cancer, with only a five percent response to treatment, to one of the best understood cancers, where patients can now expect an 85 percent initial response to treatment. The year 2010 marks the tenth anniversary of a breakthrough in GIST treatment as the first group of patients to receive a drug to treat metastatic GIST will reach their ten-year survival benchmark.

The Life Raft Group will be celebrating this amazing decade of achievement over the course of the next year through a number of events and initiatives, all culminating with Life Fest 2010 on June 25-27, 2010 at the Hyatt Regency in Jersey City, NJ.

On Friday night, June 25, Life Fest 2010 will open with a gala event: GIST 2010—A Decade of Difference. The evening will feature a look back at the key scientific and medical milestones over the last ten years and a look forward to the most promising treatments and discoveries on the horizon. Special recognition will be given to the 10 Who Made A Difference, honorees from the GIST patient, medical and scientific communities who have not only made significant contributions to the understanding and treatment of GIST, but whose accomplishments have made a difference to the survival of GIST patients. The celebration will continue throughout the course of the weekend with other key awards including Humanitarian of the YearClinician of the Year andVolunteer of the Year. With Life Fest 2010’s emphasis on achievement and survival, a new annually awarded honor will be unveiled; The Beacon of Hope Award for the most promising scientific or pharmaceutical breakthrough.

A retrospective of GIST scientific discoveries and medical advances as well as profiles of the Life Fest 2010 honorees will be featured in the LRG Newsletters and communications in the months leading up to Life Fest 2010. The complete GIST historical retrospective and honoree profiles will then be compiled for a special commemorative program that every Life Fest 2010 attendee will receive.

Finally, in the next ten months, the Life Raft Group will be gathering stories from all those who’ve been involved on the front lines of GIST—patients, family members as well as the scientists, doctors and nurses who fight alongside them. These stories of courage, perseverance and determination will be featured throughout Life Fest 2010, and in a multi-media production to be premiered at Friday night’s gala.Hyatt Hotel

Most important of all, Life Fest 2010 is a celebration of survival and hope and a time to recognize the enormous courage of every patient and family member who has battled and continues to battle GIST. Life Fest 2010 will offer the entire GIST community—GIST patients, their friends and family members, GIST medical professionals, researchers and scientists— an opportunity to come together to honor and celebrate the past and to forge a path forward to find a cure.