Remarkable Women Finalist | Duke cancer researcher uses her mother’s battle as inspiration

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DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – In her lab at Duke, Eda Holl works to find better treatments for cancer.  

The reason behind the research is personal.

“I want to be able to give patients like my mom hope and so that’s really why I do what I do,” she said.

For 25 years, Holl has watched her mother battle breast cancer.  

“This is a difficult situation, not just for us as young children to have a parent go through cancer,  mostly for my mom who is a working mom trying to raise her two children and make sure that she was around for them,” she said.

She’s devoted her career to fighting cancer and improving health care – with her research at Duke University as well as her work with the National Institutes of Health.

She helps approves grants for treatments that could one day save lives, but scientist is only one of Eda’s roles.

“She’s a great cook I think that goes hand-in-hand with being a great researcher – you’re following recipes,” Thomas Holl said.

With her husband, Thomas, frequently out of town for work, it’s often up to Eda to make sure her two children have everything they need – from meals to lessons, to therapy for her younger son Carson, who doesn’t speak.

Despite their busy schedules and the boys’ very different needs, the Holls make family time a priority.

Despite their busy schedules, Eda and Thomas also make time to participate in the Susan G. Komen Race for a cure.

“She’s doing everything she can to make that happen, but she doesn’t take much credit for all her accomplishments,” Thomas Holl said.

Just like her mom inspired her, Eda inspires her children.

And those who know her best think she’s pretty remarkable.

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