About Us 2018-02-25T15:55:39+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 / Outreach Team / 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.

Michael McCarty

Survivor / Outreach Team
Stage IV lung cancer survivor; diagnosed September, 2012. I live in Michigan with my wife and 3 children where I continue to work full time as an attorney.

Colin Barton

Survivor / Outreach Team
I am a husband, father, retired dentist, diagnosed ALK Positive Stage 4 lung cancer in 2016. I want to help all ALK Positive patients be able to live long happy lives!!

Julie Silberger

Survivor / Outreach TeamI was diagnosed with Stage IV ALK+ lung cancer in 2016. A strategy consultant and “older Mom”, I live with my husband and our three young daughters in the Virginia suburbs of Washington DC. I am dedicated to advocating for medical research with the goal of finding better treatments and maybe someday a cure!

Jennifer Cosgrove

Survivor / Outreach TeamStage IV lung cancer survivor diagnosed June 2017. So blessed to be ALK positive. I’m a 38 year old Mom of three young children. Willing to do my part towards finding a cure for lung cancer!

Bill Westlake

Survivor / Outreach TeamI’m 51 years old with a loving wife and family of 5 kids (2 in their 20’s). I was diagnosed stage 4 NSCLC in July 2017. Feeling fortunate to be ALK positive and remain positive for a cure.

Renee Westlake

Caregiver / Outreach Team
I advocate in honor of my husband, Bill Westlake, who was diagnosed in July of 2017. We have five children. I am a 20+ year educator, specializing in the teaching of reading and of lit/comp.

Vivek Tomar

Caregiver / Outreach Team / National Coordinator India
Vivek is a caregiver of his beautiful wife Kusum who was diagnosed at age 29 with Stage IV NSCLC ALK-positive lung cancer. He became an advocate and very instrumental in working with different stakeholders for better access to latest treatments and clinical trials for ALK-positive lung cancer patients. He works to improve lung cancer advocacy in India for all lung cancer survivors.

Millie Torchia

Survivor / Outreach Team
I am a wife, mother of 3 girls and work full time in Financial industry. My world changed June 2017 when I was diagnosed with stage IV Lung Cancer. I am extremely grateful to modern medicine and to be ALK positive.

Christine Tsai

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.

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.

Yeo Teck Chuan

Caregiver / Moderator
I am a caregiver to my wife Irene who was diagnosed with Stage IV NSCLC in May 2017. I am an accountant with my own audit and financial advisory practices in China and Laos.