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The one hundred honoree: Eunice Kwak, MD, PhD

Profile in Medicine

The one hundred honoree: Eunice Kwak, MD, PhD

Mass General Giving

As head of experimental therapeutics at the Tucker Gosnell Center for Gastrointestinal Cancers at the Mass General Cancer Center, Eunice Kwak, MD, PhD, pursues research breakthroughs. However, as an oncologist, she just may be redefining compassionate care.

LeeAnn Conners, whose brother died of pancreatic cancer, remembers Dr. Kwak’s honesty, kindness and thoughtfulness during his treatment. To this day, LeeAnn cherishes a note sent by Dr. Kwak after her brother’s death. “Dr. Kwak spent considerable time with my brother and wrote how he was a kind and good soul. I so much appreciate her personal touch,” says LeeAnn.

For Mark Handley, an avid sailor and colon cancer patient, Dr. Kwak has made every effort to keep him and his wife sailing south every winter since his diagnosis four years ago.

“After my first surgery, Dr. Kwak wished us well and sent us south,” says Mark. “But, the cancer spread, and in 2013, I needed to stay in New England to receive chemotherapy. I think it was as hard for her to give us that news as it was for us to hear it.

“In 2014, knowing we planned to sail to the Bahamas, she was determined that I would go and have treatments along the way. She contacted hospitals on our route and arranged it. While Dr. Kwak may not have yet developed a cure for cancer, she has done something that to me is almost as important: she has made sure my life with cancer is full and fulfilling. I couldn’t be more grateful.”