July 13th is GIST Awareness Day!
Let’s learn a little more about this rare form of cancer, and then see what we can do is raise more awareness!
What are GISTs?
A gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) is a type of tumor that occurs in the gastrointestinal (digestive) tract, most often in the stomach or small intestine. More rarely, it can occur in the colon, rectum, and esophagus.
GISTs are a type of soft-tissue sarcoma, which are rare cancers that begin in the tissues that connect, surround, and support other body structures. Tumors occur when genes that regulate normal cell growth are mutated or damaged, which leads to cells growing and dividing at an over-accelerated, unregulated pace.
Some of the tumors that appear are benign, which means they are non-cancerous and won’t spread, but others are malignant, which are cancerous and can spread to other body parts. The malignant tumors often spread to sites within the abdominal cavity, the liver, the lungs, and bone.
Gist Do It
The Life Raft Group is an organization whose mission is to enhance the survival and quality of life for people living with GIST through patient-powered research, education and empowerment, and global advocacy efforts.
They have organized a GIST Awareness Day — with the theme “GIST DO IT” — and here are some suggestions where we can get involved!
- Organize a GIST DO IT Walk fundraiser
- Hold a GIST Awareness Day event at a local medical center, advocacy organization or school.
- Donate tissue — take action and GIST DO IT by joining the patient registry and donating tissue to LRG’s GIST Collaborative Tissue Bank, or by joining SideEQ. You will be contributing to GIST research.
- Distribute information about GIST to local doctors.
- Share your story — by offering to speak at local cancer centers or events; sending your story to your local newspaper; making a short video where you talk about what having GIST has meant in your life. And tag or reach out to LRG on social media. Click for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
- Host a letter writing party to encourage your local and national legislators about the importance of supporting funding for cancer research
- Run a fun event. Have a sundae making party to solicit donations. Make posters that say GIST DO IT. Rally the kids to help.
- Create a fundraiser on social media.
- Take photos at your patient gatherings. Create a collage called “The Many Faces of GIST.”
Should you have any questions or need help — contact Mary Garland at [email protected]!
Any of these can be a great help for the GIST patient community.