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Vinings Resident Raises Awareness, Money for GIST Cancer Research

Lenny Kapiloff and his wife Wendy have been organizing the annual GIST Cancer Research fundraiser in Metro Atlanta for five years.

Lenny Kapiloff, a Vinings resident, retail consultant and retired Home Depot executive, has an inspiring story to tell as a cancer survivor. Not only did Kapiloff survive from Gastro Intestinal Stromal Tumor, a rare type of cancer, he and his wife Wendy have been raising awareness and money for a GIST cancer research fund for the past five years.

Almost eight years ago, Kapiloff was vacationing when he began to feel weak, nauseous, and lose appetite. After he went to Emory for more tests and evaluation, he was diagnosed with an uncommon type of cancer, a sarcoma—Gastro Intestinal Stromal Tumor.

Kapiloff first went through surgery to remove the tumor, and about two years later, the tumors returned to his liver. He decided to go to Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston where some of the top doctors who combat this disease are located. After going through another surgery to remove 60 percent of his liver at the Boston hospital, he was given an oral chemotherapy drug that targets only the GIST cancer cells, and not the healthy cells in the body.

The cancer survivor remains healthy today with no evidence of disease. Along this journey, Kapiloff decided that he needed to help others who are experiencing the same hardship he had gone through.

About five years ago, he gathered his family and a few friends, and organized a small event attended by about 90 people to raise money to support Dana Farber Institute to find a cure. That small beginning turned into an annual event that last year was attended by more than 200 people and raised $86,000 for the GIST Cancer Research Fund. The goal this year is $100,000.

This year's Annual GIST Cancer Research Fund Atlanta Dinner and Auction will be held this Saturday, Oct. 27, from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. The dressy attire event includes dinner, open bar and auction. Visit Patch's Event Calendar or www.gistatlanta.org for details.

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