Teen Raises £4K for Cancer Charity After Dad’s GIST Diagnosis

In 2019, the Baird family, living in Scotland, received news that nobody wants to hear. Michael, the family patriarch, was diagnosed with a gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST), an uncommon tumor that forms in specialized cells called interstitial cells of Cajal (ICCs) within the digestive tract. Understandably, the family was shaken up. But Michael’s son, Kieran (19), decided to step up to the plate to help. According to an article in the Daily Record, Kieran launched fundraising efforts meant to support the Beatson Cancer Charity.

To Kieran, this mission was extremely important. Providing funds to the Beatson Cancer Charity wasn’t just meant to help his father, whom the charity offered invaluable support to. Kieran recognized that these funds would be used to provide a comprehensive range of wellbeing and specialist services to all people with cancer in need.

In mid-June 2023, Kieran launched a football (“soccer,” to Americans) fundraiser which included fun for the whole family! Children could partake in special, fun activities; adults could join in on a football game. The event raised more than £4,000 (approximately $5,162) and more than 150 people attended.

Moving forward, Kieran hopes to plan additional fundraising endeavors to support people with cancr on their journeys. In addition to selling signed football memorabilia, Kieran is also raising funds via his Just Giving page. If you would like to donate, you may do so here.

Read more about the Baird family in the Daily Record here.

About Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors (GIST)

Gastrointestinal stromal tumors most often form in the stomach or small intestine; however, they may also occur in the esophagus, colon, or rectum. These types of tumors exists under the larger umbrella of soft tissue sarcoma, rare cancers that manifest in the body’s soft tissues. GIST formation usually results from spontaneous KIT or PDGFR gene mutations. However, in extremely rare cases, an inherited mutation may cause GIST. These tumors are most common in people between ages 40 to 70. While some GIST are benign (non-cancerous), others are malignant (cancerous). It is extremely important to speak with your doctor about managing and treating a tumor. Treatment options include surgery and targeted drug therapy.

Symptoms may vary based on the exact location of the GIST. Potential symptoms may include:

  • Abdominal pain and swelling
  • Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing)
  • Anemia (low red blood cell count)
  • Appetite loss
  • Fatigue and general weakness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Bloody stool
  • A mass or lump in the abdominal area
  • Vomiting blood
  • Unintentional weight loss

You can learn more about GIST through our partners over at The Life Raft Group.

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn has an educational background in writing and marketing. She firmly believes in the power of writing in amplifying voices, and looks forward to doing so for the rare disease community.

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