The Life Raft Group created the Women in Sarcoma series to highlight women in the sarcoma medical profession that make a difference in patients’ lives, and to share their stories of strength and perseverance dealing with rare patients & diseases with our community. The series webinars, A Multidisciplinary Panel of Experts, and Case Presentations, are available to view anytime.

The Women in Sarcoma Gala, the culmination of the Women in Sarcoma series for 2020, will recognize medical professionals who have made an exceptional difference in the lives of GIST patients and their families. In addition, we will also honor two amazing sarcoma patients who have met the challenge their disease presented and have gone above and beyond to make a difference in the rare disease community. The Women in Sarcoma Gala will take place virtually on December 10, 2020. This Gala being held in loving memory of GISTer Nikki Morales.

Dr. mOe Anderson

Dr. mOe Anderson

The Gala will be hosted by Dr. Monica “mOe” Anderson, DDS. Dr. mOe Anderson, is an author, publisher, mOe-tivational speaker, and Doctor of Dental Surgery, as well as a GISTer.  As a motivational speaker, she shares game-changing, powerful, life lessons with humor and passion. A diagnosis of gastrointestinal stromal tumor in 2012 has never dampened Dr. mOe’s zeal for personal growth. One of her life goals is to raise awareness and funds for GIST. See Dr. mOe’s keynote address at Life Fest 2016 and learn more about Dr. mOe.

All are welcome to attend the Gala, to enjoy the presentations, and to meet the incredible women we are honoring.
Please RSVP by December 3rd.

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Our Gala Sponsors

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Our 2020 Women in Sarcoma Honorees

Women Paving the Path Forward

Innovative Sarcoma Leadership

Innovative Sarcoma Leadership

Denise Reinke, SCARC

Denise Reinke, MS, NP, MBA
Past President and CEO, SARC

Dr. Gina D'Amato, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center

Gina D’Amato, MD
Assistant Director of Clinical Research
Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center

Dr. Breelyn Wilky

Breelyn Wilky, MD
Director, Sarcoma Medical Oncology
Deputy Associate Director for Clinical Research, University of Colorado

Denise Reinke has been with SARC since its inception in 2002 assuming increased responsibilities over the years. She is uniquely positioned to be engaged in sarcoma research given her experience as a nurse practitioner, investigator for NIH grants, clinical trials, pharmaceutical and business experience. Denise obtained her Master of Science from the University of Michigan, Rackham Graduate School and her MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.

Dr. D’Amato is a board certified medical oncologist specializing in sarcoma at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Miami. She received a BS in Biology and her MD from the University of Miami. Her residency was at Jackson Memorial Hospital/University of Miami. She completed her fellowship in Hematology/Oncology at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute. During her fellowship, Dr. D’Amato began to specialize in sarcoma. Prior to her current job at University of Miami, she was with Georgia Cancer Specialists, faculty at Moffitt and also Emory University.

Dr. Breelyn Wilky is the Director of Sarcoma Medical Oncology at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, Colorado. Dr. Wilky received her undergraduate degree in Biology and Music from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, and attended medical school at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey – Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Piscataway, New Jersey (now Rutgers Medical School.) She received her MD with Distinction in Research. She then completed the Osler internship and residency in Internal Medicine at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and stayed there to complete her fellowship in Medical Oncology.

Young Female Sarcoma Leadership

Patient Leadership Award

Global Patient Leadership Award

Lillian Klug

Lillian Klug, PhD
Heinrich Lab-Cancer Biology, PVAMC/OHSU

MaKayla Evans

MaKayla Evans
GISTer – Fearlessly Authentic

Florence Thwagi

Florence Thwagi
Executive Board Member, Henzo Kenya

Originally from Minnesota, Lilli’s training has marched her progressively west. She got her BS in Biological Sciences from Colorado State University, then received her PhD in Cancer Biology at Oregon Health and Science University. She now has over 12 years of experience in the field of biomedical research, with 9 of those years spent studying gastrointestinal stromal tumor. In the laboratory of Dr. Michael Heinrich, she has led studies to identify novel targets in KIT-mutant GIST, understand tyrosine kinase inhibitor resistance in KIT- and PDGFRA-mutant GIST, and aided in projects to understand the functional consequences of genetic mutations in the genes encoding succinate dehydrogenase subunits that can confer risk of GIST.

I’m currently 23 years old, I live in Utah. I was diagnosed with SDHC Epigentic GIST in 2011 at the young age of 14. I’ve had two resections of tumors. I’m currently NED 2 years!  I graduated with my Medical Assisting certificate earlier this year, and I’m currently working as a psych tech at an adolescent girl’s treatment center and help those suffering from mental illness and drug use. I have a passion for listening and singing encouraging/powerful music, I’m a concert lover, Harry Potter fan, soon to be service dog handler of Ziva (Standard Poodle) mountain lover, mental health advocate, Dt. Mountain Dew drinker and chocolate enthusiast. And for you nerds out there, an INFJ. Most importantly a faithful follower of God and Jesus Christ. I have a passion for helping others through my own journey while always being my authentic self in sharing the good and the bad.  One of my bucket lists items is to give a TED talk.

Florence is an Executive Board Member of Henzo Kenya, a mother, a wife and a Gister. She was diagnosed with GIST in 2018 and was thrown into confusion as she had not heard of it before. To take or not to take Gleevec was the hardest decision she had to make at the time. Henzo Kenya gave her a lot of support at that time of need by introducing her to people who have been there, done it and are living full lives. “I am humbled and honored to be one of Life Raft Group Nominees in Women in Sarcoma Virtual Gala for a Global Patient Leadership Award and would like to dedicate it to family, friends and Henzo Kenya community.”

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