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Motivation and inspiration
Amherst woman inspires others about cancer fight
Linnea Duff of Amherst says, “I have accepted the cancer and the terminal diagnosis, and I believe that is the key to survival.” (Courtesy)
"At first, I tried to convince myself that this was anything but cancer. Now, I have accepted the cancer and the terminal diagnosis, and I believe that is key to survival," said Duff, 53, of Amherst.
Duff was diagnosed with lung cancer in April 2005 after never having smoked. Although her initial diagnosis was Stage 1B, after three years of treatments she was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer in 2008.
"I was told to get my affairs in order and essentially asked to learn how to die," said Duff. But, in a last ditch attempt to prolong the time she has left with her three children, Duff became the fourth person in the world with non-small cell lung cancer to participate in a clinical trial involving an experimental ALK inhibitor called Xalkori therapy.
"I had almost a total response. Prior to the trial my left lung was crowded with cancer, but post trial there was nearly no cancer," she said.
This week, she will serve as a motivational speaker for the Breathe Deep Boston 5K Walk. Duff will speak to 2,000 participants about early detection and the importance of funding for lung cancer research.
"Each day I wake up and I say, 'I'm alive, I'm alive, I'm alive," said Duff, who is excited to share her story in Boston this weekend. "All of these people have been touched by lung cancer somehow, and I want my message to be inspirational, respectful and cognizant of those that have passed from this illness."
"But I have learned to embrace what frightens me. I know that I am going to die, but the fact is, we all know that about ourselves."
The Breathe Deep Boston 5K Walk will take place Saturday in South Boston. It aims to raise $250,000 to support the LUNGevity Foundation, an organization that funds the most promising lung cancer research nationwide, according to a release.
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