Samantha WexlerI learned about GIST almost nine years ago. Before that I had no idea that it existed. We all hear about the big population cancers like breast cancer or lung cancer, but it is just as important that smaller population cancers are highlighted as well, probably more so because they get less funding for research.

I not only do I have GIST, but I have Wildtype GIST which is notoriously difficult to treat. I have had many hospital adventures in my almost nine years. I have gotten to know the people who transport the patients around the hospital pretty well and now they even say hi to me in the hallways!

I have also done a lot of things that I was putting off for the future. I went back to school, finished my BFA (with distinction), I am almost finished my MA in Art History and I have learned to be a pretty good public speaker. Something this introvert never thought that I would enjoy!

I think that life is to be lived no matter our limitations. We should push ourselves to do things that scare us every day and when we get to our time, we can be proud of who we became and the accomplishments that we achieved despite living with this unrelenting disease.”