G-PACT is dedicated to increasing awareness of Gastroparesis (GP), Chronic Intestinal Pseudo-obstruction (CIP), and Colonic Inertia (CI) among medical professionals, patients, and the general population. We are working towards finding a cure and/or better treatment options for people dealing with digestive tract paralysis (DTP). We provide educational resources, multiple support programs, patient advocacy programs, and other aid as needed to help patients cope and to provide hope to everyone afflicted with the condition.
G-PACT was founded on August 23, 2001 by a handful of patients who were members of an online Yahoo! Support group for gastroparesis. The Yahoo! Group was started on Sept. 12, 2000.
The founder of G-PACT, Carissa Haston
Graduated from college in 2000. Unable to attend graduate school for Art Therapy as planned due to health, she needed a way to reach out to others who were also suffering, find a purpose, and pass the long days on disability in an empowering way.
She started a personal website
Still remembered today by many as the “Monkeygirl” site. This site focused on various aspects of gastroparesis, shared her personal story, and provided ways for patients to get involved in trying to get domperidone approved in the US. The page included a forum for people to connect with each other.
Little did she know what her boredom would turn into!
Not expecting much of a response, Carissa became so overwhelmed with e-mail she was unable to keep up with everyone! That’s when she decided to start an online support group to give others the opportunity to more easily connect with each other. Only expecting, at most, 50-60 people to join, it rapidly grew to several hundred. Throughout conversations with others, the need was recognized for a non-profit organization dedicated to gastroparesis. That’s when a small group of interested people came together to begin the process of starting G-PACT.
So many people were not being diagnosed or receiving inaccurate information and care!
Therefore, we devoted a lot of our efforts not only to connect with physicians and researchers but into developing programs to assist patients in any way possible to get through the now. We understood the financial strain of medical expenses and did not want to add to that burden. Therefore, it became a strong policy to provide all of our services for free. No one in G-PACT is paid for what we do. All donations received go 100% towards our awareness, research, and advocacy work. We are dedicated to never requiring payment in return for anything we do.
Most are patients with severe cases battling this on a daily basis, so we truly do understand! That is why we fight so passionately! We work on a virtual basis from home. Locations include NY, PA, NC, and VA all the way to CA, MN, UT, WA, WI, and many others over the years! We selected the colors spring green and yellow to represent gastroparesis (story behind colors to come) and began to grow rapidly.
G-PACT experienced some big setbacks a few years after our founding
with the death of an original founder and VP, Veronica Pennington, who joined for the sake of her son, Nicholas. Additionally, the necessary LOA of the President as she waited for and recovered from a full-GI tract transplant contributed to a period of slower growth. But, thanks to the help of a few other dedicated volunteers, G-PACT pulled through and began to take off rapidly towards our goals again in July, 2007 when some volunteers were able to return and new ones developed an interest.