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Our Story

WE ARE A PATIENT-DRIVEN GROUP, PROVIDING INFORMATION, SUPPORT, EMPATHY & RESEARCH FUNDING TO CHANGE THE FUTURE OF ALK-POSITIVE LUNG CANCER. 


ALK Positive consists of 1,400+ ALK-positive lung cancer patients and their caregivers in 40+ countries. Through our foundational online support group, we are able to support each other worldwide and share information to become empowered patients-advocates. 

We believe in taking control of your own heath and future. We directly support high-impact research that improves patient outcomes and has the potential to transform ALK-positive lung cancer into a chronic (and maybe someday, cured) condition.

We seek to partner with entities who are furthering ALK-positive lung cancer research and treatment options. Please contact us if you are a potential partner.


 

Founded by a patient, lead by patients and caregivers

We are patient-strong

 
 

Meet our Co-Founder

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Merita Carroll

Co-Founder, passed 2018

ALK Positive was created by Merita Carroll in 2015. She wanted a support community where ALK-positive lung cancer patients, like herself, and caregivers could share their personal experience with this condition.

Merita was a vibrant healthy young woman working as a registered nurse when diagnosed Stage IV. She was diagnosed on March 6, 2015 and, sadly, passed away on April 24, 2018.

Read her full story here


Executive Team

ALK Positive Outreach Management Group (OMG), founded in April 2017, is the advocacy arm of the ALK Positive Support Group. ALK Positive OMG is a fiscally sponsored organization by the LUNGevity Foundation as per IRS code for 501(c)(3) non-profits. All funds raised are through the LUNGevity Foundation, but used specifically for ALK Positive projects in accordance with IRS code.

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Gina Hollenbeck

President, Patient

I am a Stage IV cancer fighter. Wife, mother, daughter, nurse, exercise enthusiast, and lover of life!

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Tom Carroll

Vice President, Co-Founder, Caregiver

Tom was Merita’s Primary Caregiver and ALK Positive Facebook group administrator. He retired from a 30-year Coast Guard career one month before Merita became ill. He retains a lifetime position of Chairman Emeritus with ALK Positive.

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Bill Westlake

Treasurer, Patient

I’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.

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Stephen Huff

Secretary, Patient

Stephen Huff is a proud husband, high school teacher, lung cancer advocate, and founder of The Huff Project. He was diagnosed with stage IV NSCLC in June, 2017 and feels very thankful for modern medicine and to be ALK Positive!

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Colin Barton

Pharmaceutical Advocacy Committee Chair, patient

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!!

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Rhonda Jones Meckstroth

Membership, Alliance & Media Committee Chair, caregiver

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.

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Renee Westlake

Political Advocacy COMMITTEE Chair, caregiver

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.

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Nancee Pronsati

Fundraising Committee Chair, patient

Wife, mother, and daughter. Diagnosed with Stage IV ALK at 53, in both lungs but then also later in the brain. I was diagnosed after my 13th half marathon where I coughed for an entire 13.1 miles through Nashville. I have a BSBA (accounting) and an MBA.