Case Studies: GIST Support International (GSI)

Not all support groups are created equal, nor are all of the patients that benefit from them the same. GIST Support International (GSI) – with members from around the globe, including the United States, United Kingdom, Austria, India, Netherlands, China, Australia, Mexico, Italy, Canada and beyond – has learned so much from its patient community, enabling our group to benefit more and more patients. While Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors are considered "rare" cancers, GSI's 4,000 members have learned via our LISTSERV® groups throughout the life of our association that there are also many different types of GIST, depending on mutation.

The therapies and treatments that work for one patient or a group of patients may not work for others. Some patients must continue to seek answers as to why their cancers respond to no treatments. We give each other counsel on which physicians and institutions are best for treatment, how to deal with side effects of the medications we must take and how to deal with the emotional ups and downs that we experience.

"GSI is truly a patient-driven organization, held together by the bonds of our email groups, which serve as our support system. We are low budget, but high energy, and we seek to help ourselves and our caregivers as well as any other patients and caregivers in need. Patients come and go, either because of death or long-term survival, but each and every person who associates with GSI through our LISTSERV discussions leaves a lasting piece of information and history for those who will follow in the future."

Ginger Sawyer
GSI Board Member and Treasurer

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