What does Celebrating Christmas means to me?

Life, hope, gratitude, a GIFT!!!

After seven hard years living with a wrong diagnosis, in 2002 we found out that what I really had was a GIST – a rare cancer for which there was a new drug that might work. “The magic bullet,” it was called.

Twelve years ago, I was able to start my treatment with Gleevec. This meant for me 12 years of life:

12 years during which I have been able to see my sons and daughters grow, develop professionally, get married and give me 7 marvelous grandchildren. 12 years that I have been able to work in order to help GIST patients; 12 years in which, as one of my sons said, “We have been able to look towards the future with different eyes, eyes of hope.” It has been 12 years celebrating Christmas and thanking God for the gift of life!

If you have a Cancerversary please contact info@liferaftgroup.org

Piga Fernández
Author: Piga Fernández

Piga Fernández, Santiago, Chile, is a Global Relations Consultant since 2009 for the Life Raft Group , a GIST Patient Organization. She founded and is the Executive Director of Fundación GIST Chile, a nonprofit organization dedicated to support GIST and other gastrointestinal patients through education, information, emotional support and advocacy, with the goal of having them experience a better quality of life. Additionally, She is also the Coordinator of Alianza GIST, a consortium of GIST groups in Latin America. Her advocacy efforts in Chile have led to important changes in her country, impacting both legislative change and raising awareness for rare diseases. A GIST patient who was diagnosed incorrectly in 1995 with leiomyosarcoma, she understands the importance of correct diagnosis and access to treatment. She plays an integral role in working with our international patients, to assure they receive the quality of care necessary to survive and thrive.