Boston, 2002, the first Life Fest
At its heart, the Life Raft Group is a love story written by and for patients and caregivers who fight the daily battle against GIST, Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors, with incredible courage and dignity.
The Life Raft Group (LRG) started in 2000, when a handful of patients in the early Gleevec trials began sharing their experiences online. Many patients had been misdiagnosed with leiomyosarcoma and were just now finding out they had an entirely different cancer – gastrointestinal stromal tumor, or GIST. Sharing their stories and experiences online helped them in a variety of ways, including gaining much-needed support while facing a rare disease and managing the side effects of a new drug. In the next two years, this group formed a newsletter and Web site to share information with an even wider audience, before formally incorporating in June 2002. Over the years, the Life Raft Group has grown immensely, meeting the challenges facing GIST patients and caregivers and the research community every step of the way.