Our Mission & Programs
The Life Raft Group has a simple focus: to cure a form of cancer — GIST – and to help those living with it until then.
To do this, we focus on three key areas: research, patient support & education, and advocacy, which lay the foundation of our mission to ensure the survival of GIST patients through a comprehensive approach connecting individual patients’ needs, the worldwide community of GIST advocates and the global health and research environment.
- The Life Raft Group funds and manages uniquely coordinated research initiatives that always keep the needs of the GIST patient foremost. The Life Raft Group is the only GIST advocacy organization with a dedicated research initiative led by a team of world renowned scientists and clinicians in GIST. The initiatives are constantly analyzed to ensure their focus remains on finding a cure for GIST.
- The Life Raft Group provides support and education to patients and caregivers living with GIST on an individual basis by providing one-on-one counseling sessions, local in-person meetings, and a biennial meeting gathering the patient, pharmaceutical community and medical professionals together in a supportive and educational setting. The Life Raft Group also offers education to the GIST community through videos and webinars, websites, Days of Learning, a worldwide GIST specialist database, a one-of-a-kind GIST-specific clinical trials database, newsletters and other materials.
- The Life Raft Group is an active presence in effecting change within the GIST community. Advocacy roles ranges from helping patients with treatment access issues on a one-on-one basis, creating regional groups in underserved areas in order to better inform and empower patients, championing patients’ needs before government and policy makers and reporting on trends in treatment and survival to the world.
We believe that donations to the Life Raft Group should be totally accounted for. A transparent budget with professional checks and balances and a clear explanation of what we spend that budget on should be clearly defined. You can view a list of donors in our Annual Report.
All contributions to the Life Raft Group are acknowledged in writing, as required by the IRS. A copy of the report that we are required to file with the IRS (990) is posted to our website. A detailed operating budget is also posted once it has been approved by our Board of Directors. We retain an independent CPA firm to conduct an annual financial audit and we make copies of this extensive audit available upon request. Finally, we welcome and respond promptly to all questions.
We currently employ a core staff of seven full time employees. In addition, we maintain and equip a small office in Wayne, New Jersey at 155 US Highway 46, Suite 202 and support staff travel and professional fees. This core staff is backed by an extensive network of volunteers, including our general counsel, meeting organizer, and a LRG volunteer research team.