If charisma could conquer cancer, John Murphy would have singlehandedly banished his disease. But as he sees it, it has taken legions of people — from clinicians and researchers to family and friends — for him to outlive the stage IV melanoma that was spreading throughout his body two years ago. Back then, his doctors told him that the disease might end his life within a few months.
With candor and passion as well as down-to-earth warmth and wit, this retired lawyer has become a powerful spokesperson, sharing his experience as a clinical trial participant to inspire donors and educate medical professionals. John also extends his outreach to fellow patients who, like him, would gladly trade the looming certainty of a dire prognosis for the hope and unknowns of experimental therapy.
“I’m getting calls from four-stagers,” says John. “Some never hear of these trials.” By addressing oncologists at their nationwide conferences, John is striving to increase communication between patients and their physicians about promising new treatments.
After John was diagnosed in his home state of Colorado, his brother, Martin J. Murphy Jr., MD, referred him to the Mass General Cancer Center, where he joined the first worldwide clinical trial of a drug combining BRAF and MEK inhibitors, a regimen that targets cancer on a molecular level.
Now with his disease under control, John has resumed mountain climbing and often tells people, “I was born at St. Luke’s Hospital in Denver, and reborn at Mass General in Boston.”
Nominate someone you know who is making a difference in the fight against cancer!NOMINATE TODAY
- The Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation
- Father John P. Kearns
- William F. Pirl, MD, MPH
- 2013 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Youth Crew
- Keisha Cobb
- Clare H. Swan, RN, MSN
- Belinda and Henri Termeer
- Betty Tang
- Kimberly Shannon, RN
- Ronald (Tak) W. Takvorian, MD
- Chien-Chi Huang
- William H. Park
- Brian J. MacDonnell, RN
- Jerry Younger, MD
- Nicole Neville and Paige Shin
- Central Maine Medical Center, Outpatient Medical Oncology/Infusion Center Nursing Staff
- David L. Berger, MD
- Ellen M. Fitzgerald, RN
- Kevin S. Emerick, MD
- Dana-Farber / Harvard Cancer Center–Faith Based Cancer Disparities Network
- E. John Opolski, RN
- Peter J. Biggs, PhD
- Annika, Gabriella and Jack Johnson
- Richard A. Hodin, MD
- Carol Sullivan
- Remy A. Stressenger
- Shore Country Day Boys Basketball Team
- Caring for a Cure
- Think Fit For Kids
Mass General honors 100 individuals and groups for their diverse contributions to the fight against cancer. Meet the Honorees.