The Gift Of Time Life Fest 2016

The Life Raft Group is excited to announce its 8th anniversary of our biennial Life Fest conference, which gives patients and caregivers the opportunity to gather for a weekend of camaraderie, unique access to global leaders in the field, and a wealth of new information about the latest advances in GIST management and research.

This year’s Life Fest theme is focused on The Gift of Time and the logo is an hourglass. Each grain of sand in the hourglass represents a moment in time; a precious memory that we cherish. Each morning we awaken to receive 86,400 seconds. Take a moment to calculate how many seconds you have been given since your GIST diagnosis or the diagnosis of a loved one. The fact that there are viable treatments for your disease has meant the gift of those precious seconds. At Life Fest we invite attendees to share treasured moments with us by recording them on paper “grains of sand” and displaying them on our Gift of Time hourglass display.

Life Fest will be celebrated July 15th – 17th

– to incorporate the celebration of GIST Awareness Day at the Redondo Beach Marriott in Torrance, California. While the conference will be held July 15 to 17, we have secured the hotel room discounted rates for Wed. July 13th to Monday July 18th so that conference participants may enjoy the Redondo Beach/LA areas before and after our event if they choose to do so.

We will begin the weekend on Friday, July 15 with registration and an optional GIST 101 session. The evening will be our Gala and we will celebrate GIST Awareness Day. There will be a special photo booth that will display The Gift of Time hourglass with your posts of treasured moments (grains of sand).  We will also share the Gift of Time celebration video and honor some outstanding people whom have contributed so much to our community. These include:

  • Erin MacBean – Allan Tobes Volunteer of the Year
  • Ronald DeMatteo, MD – Jeroen Pit Science Award
  • Matthew Lurin, MD – Arnie Kwart Philanthropist of the Year
  • Friends of Max-India – Global Award of Excellence
  • Jason Sicklick, MD – Clinician of the Year
  • Ray Montague – GIST Hall of Fame
  • Michael LaQuaglia, MD – GIST Hall of Fame

The rest of the weekend will be filled with medical and research updates, long term survivor and side effects strategies, integrative medical therapies, future innovation sessions, etc. and plenty of time to network and have fun with fellow GISTers, caregivers and friends. Saturday night we will hold a Celebration of Life Ceremony at the hotel’s Zen Garden. This will be an opportunity for us to celebrate the lives of GISTers who are no longer with us through a special performance dedicated to them. We will then devote the rest of the evening to enjoying the Redondo Beach area with an optional fun outing that will be announced soon. Sunday we will focus on advancing health data to help us find a cure, LRG’s GIST survival plan and coming attractions.

The LRG member fee to participate in Life Fest remains the same as in previous years: $155 per person for the entire weekend, due to the generous support of sponsors. We do have a limited number of scholarships available to those seeking to enhance their GIST awareness regardless of financial situation. Scholarships are made possible by the generosity of the LRG Board of Directors and donors.

Send us your video “Gifts of Time”

Our Life Fest and GIST Awareness Day theme is the Gift of Time. Our logo is an hourglass, with each grain of sand representing a moment in time; a precious memory we celebrate.

We invite you to celebrate your “gifts of time” by making a short video which will be featured at our Life Fest celebration in July.

For information on how to make a short video, please contact Diana Nieves: or go to our GIST Awareness Day Download Center.