On Saturday, March 25th, The Life Raft Group held the first 2017 GIST Day of Learning, also known as “GDOL,” in Miami, Florida. GDOLs are free, one-day programs that provide both education and support to the GIST community. Top GIST specialists present the latest updates on research and treatment options as well as provide a comprehensive review of the science behind GIST. GDOLs provide an opportunity to not only meet and interact with local expert practitioners in an intimate setting, but also for patients to connect with one another in a supportive environment.
Jonathan Trent, MD from Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center began the morning with a presentation on “GIST 101.” Later in the day, he discussed the topic of “Accelerating a Cure.” Breelyn Wilky, MD, also from Sylvester, spoke about “The Role of the Immune System in GIST and Implications for Future Therapies.”
We were fortunate to have a surgical panel that included Alan Livingstone, MD from Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and Ricardo Gonzalez, MD from Moffit Cancer Center.
Lisa Marie Merheb then provided direction and information about support as she spoke about “Psychological implications in GIST.”
Sosipatros Boikos, MD from Massey Cancer Center closed out the afternoon with a presentation on “Advances and Challenges in KIT/PDGFRA Wildtype GIST and Implications for Treatment.” A question and answer session followed.
The sessions were informative and welcomed by all participants.
As part of our H.E.R.O. Campaign, participants had the opportunity to decorate superhero masks to highlight the fact that you can be a #Hero4Cancer by donating your tissue, data or funds to help accelerate cancer research.
A special thank you goes out to Alyssa Occhiuzzi, Marian and Dale Ritter and Van Russell for volunteering their time.
On to New York City
Our next GDOL was held on May 24th at the American Cancer Society in New York City. Norman Scherzer, Executive Director of the Life Raft Group, opened the evening by presenting a historical perspective of the LRG and his story of hope and survival.
Gary K. Schwartz, MD, Chief of Hematology/Oncology and Deputy Director for Clinical Research at NewYork/Presbyterian, Columbia University Medical Center presented “The Impact of Clinical Research on Patient Care.” An informative session by Ping Chi, MD, Medical Oncologist from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center on “New Advances in Research and Clinical Insights” was well received. The final speakers was Beth Schrope, MD, Ph.D, Associate Professor of Clinical Surgery at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, who discussed “Surgical Management of G.I. Tumors,” which provided information about what a patient needs to know before and after surgery.
The support that the patients and caregivers give one another at GDOLs is incredible. If you have the opportunity to attend one of our GDOLs this year, don’t miss it. You will be glad you took advantage of this opportunity to both learn and network with other GISTers.
Next Up: La Jolla, California
Moores Cancer Center in San Diego/La Jolla will be our next GDOL stop on July 15, 2017. More information about this and other LRG events will continue to be updated on the LRG website.
Interested in having the LRG come to your city for our next GDOL? Email your ideas to Laura Occhiuzzi at firstname.lastname@example.org.