About Us 2017-12-20T06:53:55+00:00

Our Story

ALK Positive was created as a Facebook support group where Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) patients and caregivers afflicted with the Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase (ALK) gene mutation/rearrangement could get support from like patients.  NSCLC ALK Positive patients make up only about five percent of all lung cancer diagnoses each year.  Our group has more than 700 ALK Positives from all over the world, and growing every day.  Our name and logos were created by our members.

Our Approach

ALK Positive web site is a support site with forums for members, and a portal to perform outreach activities that will promote fundraising, improve visibility to potential benefactors of patient-driven fund raising, and increase partnerships with organizations with similar goals.  ALK Positive seeks to partner with research entities who are furthering ALK research and treatment options that prolong survivability and eventually attain chronic status for all ALK Positives, all over the world.  We want to solve the puzzle of Lung Cancer!

Meet our ALK Positive leaders who work to further our goals

Merita Carroll

Survivor / Founder
At diagnosis I was a vibrant healthy young woman working as a registered nurse when diagnosed at Stage IV.  I was diagnosed on March 6, 2015.

Tom Carroll

Caregiver / Co-Founder / Group Administrator
I am Merita’s Primary Caregiver and ALK Positive Facebook group administrator.  I retired from a 30-year Coast Guard career one month before Merita first became ill.

Laura Greco

Survivor / Outreach Team
I’m a lawyer and stage IV lung cancer survivor and advocate.  Diagnosed by way of a car accident, I speak and advocate on behalf of lung cancer nationwide.  I live in upstate New York with my husband and two children.

Phil Trahan

Caregiver / Outreach Team
I advocate for my son Andy, diagnosed Stage 4 at age 33 despite never smoking, and thousands of others similarly situated.

Matthew Martin Alegre

Survivor / Outreach Team
I am 41 was diagnosed October 28, 2016 with lung cancer ALK positive. Was on Xalkori for three months before cancer moved to my brain. Switched to Alectinib, within three weeks brain was clear and lungs improved significantly. Still on Alectinib and doing well.

Gina Hollenbeck

Survivor / Outreach Team
I am a Stage IV cancer fighter. Wife, mother, daughter, Nurse, exercise enthusiast, lover of life!

Gary Nerstad

Caregiver/ Outreach Team
I am a caregiver to my wife Amanda who was diagnosed with Stage IV in October 2016. My commitment to my wife and our two young daughters is to continue to work towards improving advancements in treatment and finding a cure for lung cancer.

Mandie Hiznay

Caregiver / Outreach Team
Mandie is a caregiver advocate who became involved when her son Matthew was diagnosed at age 24 with Stage IV NSCLC. That was six years ago. The road has not always been smooth but we keep walking!

Virginia Byrne

Survivor / Outreach Team

Rhonda Jones Meckstroth

Caregiver / Group Moderator
I’m the primary caregiver to my husband Jeff who was diagnosed Stage IV in December 2015.  We met through our work at the Piqua Fire Department 1990 and married in 1997.


Caregiver / Group Moderator

I am the primary caregiver to my husband.

Parisa Abdeamin

Caregiver / Group Moderator
I’m a wife and mother of two, who works as a Chiropractic assistant with my Chiropractor husband, Hossein, in the business we started 10-years ago.  He was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in December 2015.

Taryn Wallis

Caregiver / Group Moderator
I’m the caregiver to my husband Allen who was diagnosed Stage IV in March 2015. We met as students and have been married for 15 years.

 Kim Gettis

Former Caregiver / Moderator / Historian
I was the Caregiver to my husband Mark who was diagnosed at Stage IV in May 2013 and fought heroically until August 27th, 2017. We were best friends since the day we met 32 years ago!

Leslie Trahan

Caregiver / Moderator
First and foremost I am a wife and mother of 3. By trade I am a Speech-Language Pathologist and work with children. I am also a lung cancer advocate and caregiver to my husband, Andy.