Kate Murphy spent the last 17 years of her life serving other patients and families as a gifted advocate, educator and communicator. Before her diagnosis of cancer and multiple sclerosis, she had a full career in early childhood and women’s services, including positions at Head Start and the YWCA. But it wasn’t until these illnesses forced her to leave this career that she found her life’s true calling.
Kate joined the Association of Cancer Online Resource a few months after it was founded, and began contributing scientifically accurate but patient-friendly content on urgent, user-driven topics that varied from news on the latest drugs to tips on managing symptoms.
In 1999, Kate helped to found the Colon Cancer Alliance based in Washington, DC, and in 2005 she helped establish the nonprofit Fight Colorectal Cancer, the leading nationwide colorectal cancer advocacy organization. She was its director of Research Communications until she succumbed to cancer in October 2012.
Kate brought patients and their loved ones knowledge as well as a strong, articulate voice that was heeded by clinicians and researchers alike. She served on many scientific committees that reviewed grant proposals, monitored patient safety and developed research concepts and priorities.
As a cancer patient herself, Kate’s drive to live her life to the fullest served as an example for the many patients for whom she advocated. From cross-country train trips with her husband to writing and publishing poetry, Kate once wrote, “Cancer has enriched my life. I look forward to each day with its special joys and new possibilities. I have learned to live completely and fully. I hate to leave this life behind now that I’ve found it.”
Kate’s niece, Lisa Russell, speaks for thousands of patients when she says, “My aunt Kate was my source of strength and encouragement when, in 1998, I was diagnosed and treated for lymphoma at Mass General. My aunt Kate will always be my hero.”
Help us honor the 2014 one hundredNominate Your Cancer Hero
- Rhonda McGrail
- Kailie Laflamme, LICSW
- Don Francis, RN, BSN
- Dell, Inc.
- Phyllis McNally
- Sue de Vries Cancer Foundation
- Arul M. Chinnaiyan, MD, PhD
- Bruce A. Chabner, MD
- Kate Murphy
- Kathy Giusti
- Tiffany Koolakian, RTT
- Gordon B. Zacks
- Edwin K. Lamport
- Mary Philopoulos
- Breast Intentions, Massachusetts Chapter
- Karen J. Krag, MD
- Betty J. Borry Breast Cancer Retreats
- Children’s Tumor Foundation
- Julia Hincman-Francavilla, MS, RD, LDN, CSO
- Pamela Manikas Washek
- Kevin S. Oh, MD
- Tristan’s Gift of Hope Foundation
- Melissa Skolny, MSHA, Cynthia Miller; Lauren Jammallo; Jean O’Toole, PT, MPH; and Michelle Specht, MD, Mass General Lymphedema Screening Team
- Comprehensive Grammar School Kids Cancer Club
- Lori Grassette
- Chad Juros
- Kim Rock, Michael Jones and Tricia Ferguson – Institution for Savings
- Yovanny Fana
- David J. Kuter, MD, Dphil
- Kevin Campbell
Mass General honors 100 individuals and groups for their diverse contributions to the fight against cancer.
There is strength in numbers and Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center proves this each year. the one hundred is the Cancer Center’s annual fundraiser, honoring 100 individuals and groups whose diligence and discoveries, philanthropy and passion have helped advance the fight against cancer. Funds raised at the gala support research, patient care, education and community outreach programs. Meet the Honorees.