Sylvester Named GIST Center of Excellence by The Life Raft Group

Sarcoma specialist Jonathan Trent, M.D., Ph.D., and his team, including Breelyn Wilky, M.D., received the first GIST Center of Excellence award on behalf of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center from The Life Raft Group on July 14 during Life Fest 2018, a weekend conference for patients, caregivers and medical experts.

The Life Raft Group is an organization with a mission to help find a cure for GIST — gastrointestinal stromal tumor, a type of sarcoma — and provide support and information to patients who have a type of cancer many people have never heard of.

“GIST is a rare type of cancer of which there may be only 4,000 or 5,000 new patients diagnosed each year,” explained Dr. Trent. “If patients are not managed optimally at a GIST Center of Excellence like Sylvester, the outcomes may not be ideal.”

As a university-based cancer center, Sylvester was given this honor because of ongoing research that evaluates the effectiveness of new treatments and provides patients with the opportunity to participate in groundbreaking clinical trials.

The plaque was presented to Dr. Trent by Ron Agypt, one of his GIST patients, who travels every two weeks from Atlanta to be treated at Sylvester.

On July 15, The Life Raft Group also organized an event called GIST DO IT. The three-mile walk around Miami’s Margaret Pace Park benefited Sylvester, and Dr. Trent cut the ribbon. Among the participants was another of his GIST patients, Jeff Davis.

“I’ve been seeing him for the past four years, and prior to seeing him was told I would have only several months to live,” said Davis. “Once I saw him, my whole attitude and confidence changed about living.”

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