By Erin Kristoff, LRG Communications Director & Matt Mattioli, LRG Office Manager

The LRG Website

After two years of planning, toiling, and more planning, the LRG unveiled its redesigned website on January 1 at our same web address: Finding the balance between providing life-saving information and explaining GIST in a concise, understandable way, has always been a struggle for the Life Raft Group. This new site was created to offer both forms of information with a couple more great new features thrown in.

The LRG Homepage

Besides the overall look of the LRG website, the homepage is where you’ll find the most change. We’ve organized the menu differently, in the hopes that you will be able to find things like where to join and how to volunteer more easily. We’ve also added a slideshow to the top which will constantly be scrolling through upcoming events, a link to join, and patient support-, advocacy- and research-related content. This way the main services of the LRG are right there at your fingertips. Below you’ll always find the most up-to-date news info as well as links to our social media sites.

Managing GIST/Understanding GIST

One of our biggest goals was to make our GIST Education section more structured and easy to follow. We understand how hard it is to be faced with a cancer diagnosis or recurrence and how quickly you want the information you need. We’ve separated the content on this site into two categories: Managing GIST & Understanding GIST. By separating these areas, you can now more easily pick and choose the content you want to read at the pace you decide. Managing GIST is where you will find items related to the management of your GIST care, subjects like treatment types, side-effects management and our clinical trials database. In Understanding GIST you will find information on the science of this disease, such as GIST types and survival statistics. Additionally, most pages include a small summary of the subject with a link to read more. This was done so that anyone, regardless of their GIST knowledge can understand the subject, but can very easily go more in-depth into each subject- in keeping with the quality information we have been giving you all these years.

Newly Diagnosed

When first diagnosed with GIST, people are often overwhelmed and desperate for information. We have added a feature to our homepage that allows these survivors to find what they need and find it quickly. This section offers a detailed slideshow, walking you through issues that you might find important, like an explanation of GIST types, survival rates and the importance of support groups. Throughout the year we will be making even more changes to improve this vital area.

GIST Survivor & Medical Professional Areas

Also on the homepage, are two buttons asking whether you are a medical professional or GIST survivor. We wanted to include these areas so that anyone can find the information they are looking for, even if they don’t know exactly where to look. On the Survivor page, you can find links to Coping content and information on managing your care, all in the same place. A medical professional at any stage of their career can find useful information on our Medical Professional page some items found there are information on our Research Team, Clinical Trials Database and how to order a Physician Outreach package.

There are many more new features to the new LRG site than we can list here. We encourage everyone to explore and let us know what you think. Comments, suggestions and words of encouragement are always welcome. Email us at life with your input.

Online Store

We are also really excited to share our new online store. Run through Cafe Press, we have set up a store where you can get almost anything you can think of LRG-branded. Some of the items available for purchase are t-shirts, pajamas, sweatshirts, pillows, phone cases, mugs, and doggy clothes. But these are just a few of the hundreds of items to choose from and there is sure to be something for everyone. All of these items are great, fun, and creative ways to show off your LRG pride and to raise GIST awareness. You can find the store here.

Mobile App

The Life Raft Group is also proud to announce our brand new mobile app. From this app you can read the latest newsletter articles, check out what’s happening on our Facebook and Twitter, and get all of our contact info. Two of the biggest features are the mobile Medical Update form and the ability to request your GISTory. This app will not only help everyone in the GIST community stay informed & connected but easily and quickly update or request their medical records from their own phone. It is available on the Apple app store, the Android play market, and the Windows Phone app store, just search “Life Raft Group”.