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The one hundred honoree: Linnea Duff

Donor Story

The one hundred honoree: Linnea Duff

Mass General Giving

Since 2005, Linnea Duff, has been in treatment at the Mass General Cancer Center for lung cancer. In 2008, when a biopsy confirmed that her disease had progressed to stage IV lung cancer, her treatment took a novel turn.

At the time of her biopsy, Linnea’s tumor was submitted for genetic testing, which revealed that a rare ALK3 mutation was fueling her cancer growth. She enrolled in a clinical trial of a pioneering ALK inhibitor, under the care of Eunice Kwak, MD, PhD, and Alice Shaw, MD, PhD. The targeted drug arrested the formerly relentless march of her cancer for nearly three years; she is now enrolled in a second clinical trial for another experimental therapy that targets ALK mutations.

Now a vigorous advocate on behalf of research that can reverse the odds of patients with terminal diagnoses, Linnea has participated in countless media opportunities, from an ABC News feature and an interview with Dr. Oz to nationwide events promoting research in targeted drugs.

“My purpose in recounting my experiences is two-fold,” Linnea writes in her blog,, “to offer hope and to provide a window into the life of someone living with terminal lung cancer. And I do mean living. I have lung cancer, but it doesn’t have me.”