Eric Biegansky and his family

Left to right: Eric, Ryan, Jill, and Emma Biegansky

The Life Raft Group is pleased to announce the appointment of Eric Biegansky to our Board. Eric brings his passion for supporting GIST patients and for finding a cure to his new role. Coupled with his extensive management consulting expertise and his direct experience as a GIST patient for the past eleven years, he will be an asset to our dedicated team. We are grateful Eric has accepted this call.

Eric and his family, wife Jill, son Ryan, 18 and daughter Emma, 16 (the newest licensed driver in the family), reside in the Chicago area. Not to be forgotten is Louie, their mini golden doodle, who has just also officially become a member of our LRG Board. Eric’s GIST journey began 11 years ago. He has dealt with multiple surgeries and has moved through several treatment lines. Fortunately, he has been treated by one of the country’s top GIST specialists. Eric has been on Stivarga for the past seven years and is stable. Through it all, he never gave up.

Eric shared that he has been questioning, “What is the point of all this? What can I do to contribute, even if it is in a small way? Should I share my own experience? How can I have an impact?”

Louie Biegansky

Louie Biegansky

One of the impactful ways Eric has contributed to GIST research has been the donation of his tissue to Dr. Joshua Schiffman’s research project at Huntsman Cancer Institute. In fact, Dr. Schiffman presented Eric with an award when they met at ASCO back in June. Eric intends to spread the message to others about the importance of patients donating tissue as a small step that can lead to a cure by advancing research efforts. He was inspired by the work of our Pediatric & SDH-Deficient GIST Consortium, which made him more passionate about giving back.

Eric recognizes that there are many ways that he can be of help to other GIST patients: Participating on GIST Chat, becoming a GIST Mentor, sharing his experience and raising awareness and funds for research. His experience in his own journey dealing with drugs and their side effects could prove valuable to other patients navigating their own path.

Laura Occhiuzzi
Author: Laura Occhiuzzi