The following excerpt has been reprinted from an article in the Contactgroep GIST newsletter,“Van GISTeren naar morgen” with permission.
Norman Scherzer, the American who founded the Life Raft Group ten years ago, stayed with his wife Anita at the Hilton hotel in Amsterdam during the week of July 5th. He had invited the Contactgroup GIST at the hotel on July 8th. Current chairman Jack Asselbergs, former chairman of the first hour Ton de Keijser, treasurer Gonny Panis, PR Ronald Postma were present on behalf of the Board, and Helmer (IT) & Ellen van Arem (newsletter editor and author of this report).
It was a very enjoyable get together with this friendly American couple. Anita is a GIST patient for ten years now and has taken Gleevec since 2000, when she participated in a Gleevec trial in the USA.
The reason of their visit was the gift of no less than 1 million euros, donated by a philanthropist from Amsterdam , stipulating the money has to be spent on GIST research (see article on page 1). The generous giver himself is a patient and cannot tolerate Gleevec. Norman and his wife, however, were in for a big surprise: the huge amount of one million dollars was “slightly exaggerated”, the Dutchman had recently organized a charity evening and each of his guests had to pay 50,000 euros entrance fee. The man from Amsterdam thus handed over to Norman a 1.7 million euro check. Unthinkable!
The Life Raft Group in the U.S.A. now has an extraordinary challenge. Norman heartedly hopes that this money will not only provide for the discovery of a better treatment for all GIST patients worldwide, he also hopes that this desired research outcome will be in time for this special patient in Amsterdam!