I grew up in Iowa in a family devoted to research and development of proprietary seeds. The excitement surrounding research is ingrained in my DNA. Following my graduation from Grinnell College, I work in early childhood education and business management before joining our family businesses as CFO in Iowa and Hawaii.
My first experience with cancer was in 1956 , when my maternal grandfather was diagnosed with Acute Leukemia. Other than blood transfusions, I was not aware much could be done to treat or extend his life and he passed away six months later.
In 1995, our family became involved with the Cancer Center at the University of Iowa Hospital. My father, Roland Holden, was transferred to the hospital after current treatment for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia options were no longer helping. As a lifelong researcher, Dad was willing to try some experimental therapies. Even if they did not extend his life, he was ready to take the risk. During his time in the hospital, we witnessed the dedication and expertise of the doctors and researchers. We began honoring Dad’s memory in the following years. In 2001, the Cancer Center was renamed the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Iowa Hospital. Since it is the only NCI-designated center offering experimental trials, it has attracted even more funding to further research projects. The American Cancer Society collaborates with HCCC researchers, who have patented many discoveries, participated in thousands of clinical trials, and established new standard of care protocols.
Many of our family including my husband, David, and sister-in-law, Arlene, and friends became cancer survivors, after receiving therapies at HCCC. After my mother, Ruby, passed away from Pancreatic Cancer, our daughter, Jennifer, and I chaired the Bucket List Bash in 2015. I trust that you are all aware of the great collaborative efforts of the American Cancer Society to advance research and support cancer patients and families. Please be part of the cure!