On November 12, 2011, Dee Hawkins hosted her first Life Raft Group local group meeting as Local Group Leader at the Cancer Support Community Center in Dallas, Texas. An intimate group of GIST patients and supporters living in the area gathered to reconnect with and meet other GISTers and exchange each other’s experiences as well as the various technological and medical advancements and options available to them.

A patient and member of the LRG shared that his doctor and surgeon had both diagnosed him with GIST immediately upon removing his tumor and started him on Gleevec, which came as overwhelming great news to the rest of the group and the GIST community. It was merely a few years ago that misdiagnosis for GIST was fairly common and therefore, such news was received with much celebration and optimism. And since the patient has taken Gleevec, he has been stable for several years. The Life Raft Group would like to thank Dee for hosting a successful local group meeting and for providing refreshments for all the attendees. Also, the Cancer Support Community Center, who’s CEO Mirchelle Louis, staff, and volunteers showed enormous support to prepare for the meeting in numerous ways, from offering the facility to advertising the meeting in their newsletter.

The next meeting will be held in the spring and all GIST patients and advocates in the Dallas area are welcome to join. Please email Dee Hawkins for more information about the Dallas local meeting group at dee@abetteranswer.com.