As the Life Raft Group celebrates its tenth anniversary and the achievements within the GIST community over the last 10 years, we are busy planning for the future. Our focus remains the same – to cure GIST and support those people affected by this disease until we do. In addition to the services we currently provide, the LRG is working to develop new programs to support our members while also improving our advocacy initiatives to increase GIST awareness and treatment access. The LRG will also continue to fund our research team who recently completed a two year strategic plan to move forward based on its most recent findings.
Twelve year GIST survivor and former harness driver, Bobby Kinsey, had two goals when he started planning “Harness a Cure” – to raise awareness about GIST and raise money to cure this disease. With over one hundred participants in the walk and donations continuing to arrive, Dover Down’s first Harness a Cure event to benefit the Life Raft Group’s research was a huge success thanks to Bobby who tells his fellow raftmates in the email community, “Keep Rowing.”
Twelve years ago, Life Rafter Bobby Kinsey began his own battle against GIST. Since then, he has helped countless people with GIST across the world. Most of you know Bobby as an LRG member who posts advice and words of encouragement in our email community. Now, Bobby has decided that he wants to do more to help fight this cancer.
GIST has had a profound impact on my life even though I am not a patient myself. My father, Mark Becker, bravely fought his battle with GIST for 12 years before he died in 2009. Research and clinical trials are the two things that kept my dad alive long enough to see both of his daughters graduate high school and college, get married and have children.
The Life Raft Group wishes to thank all of our members who participated in this year’s Holiday Campaign. Though it is still underway (look for final results in the next newsletter), this important campaign has raised over $47,000 to support our patient education & support, advocacy, and research to find a cure GIST.
Last month, the Life Raft Group took a giant step towards launching the Mike Matthews Legacy Society and planned giving program. Ray Montague, a dedicated Board Member and Treasurer of the Life Raft Group, pledged an incredible $100,000 bequest in memory of his son, Jonathan, in an effort to jumpstart the program.