5,000 people are diagnosed with GIST each year in the United States. That’s 13 people diagnosed each day.

Thirteen people diagnosed each day may seem small but every day 13 people are added to the organ transplant list, 13 people in the US die of food-borne illness… 13 people are diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease.

All of a sudden, 13 people doesn’t seem so small after all.

Because of this, the Life Raft Group (LRG) launched a campaign called Rare13, a one-of-a-kind, dynamic, media-driven, awareness campaign to address the misconception surrounding a rare cancer like GIST.


Over 100 types of cancer are considered rare because fewer than 20,000 people per year are diagnosed.

But what does rare really mean? That you don’t have to know about it? Worry about it? Because it may never affect you?

Thousands of people are living with GIST, yet many doctors know little to nothing about it. Many GIST patients are unaware of programs and services that may help them and research is not being done on a large enough scale. All of this because this cancer has been labeled rare and therefore, not as important as other diseases.

The main purpose of the Rare 13 campaign is to raise awareness about a “rare” cancer called GIST among the general population. It is important to educate people about the stigma that rare cancers are less important than other cancers.


You can participate by becoming a Rare 13 sponsor or elite partner, helping spread awareness and email or requesting a Rare 13 Swag Bag of goodies to hand out to friends. An easy and fun way to participate is to snap pictures and videos of you and your friends doing activities like the ones listed on the following page and uploading them to the campaign website therare13.com. These will not only be featured on the website, but contests and giveaways will be held for creative ways to support the cause, which will be featured on our Rare 13 social media pages.

Fun ways you can help the Rare 13 campaign:

  • Create a “13” out of any medium you can think of, create posters, balloons with 13 and even write it in the sand
  • Get kids involved! Lay down on a football field with your friends in the shape of a 13 and take a picture from the top of the bleachers
  • Stuff 13 people into a Volkswagen Bug
  • Throw a Rare 13 party with the number 13 plastered everywhere
  • The US Flag has 13 stripes, try something patriotic and creative!
  • Photograph 13 of almost anything, cupcakes, flowers, children—13 bald men would be unique!
  • Have a cake made with “Support the 13!” written on it
  • Shave the number 13 as a design into the side of your hair
  • Cut out 13 hearts from colored construction paper & tape them to the wall and video the kids saying “We support the 13!”
  • Ask the local cheerleading squad to do a cheer highlighting support of the thirteen with 13 cheerleaders.

The Rare 13 campaign is driven by the Life Raft Group, a non-profit organization with a simple focus:  to cure a form of cancer – GIST (gastrointestinal stromal tumors) – and to help those living with it until then. Our mission is 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. To achieve this, we focus on three key areas: Patient Support & Education, Advocacy and Research.