Help for the Holzer Family

For: Holzer Family
Organizer: Team Wonder Twin
of $50,000 goal.
Raised by 357 donors
73% Complete
This fundraiser is closed. Thank you for your support!

The Story

At the age of 43, Denise Holzer was diagnosed with the most difficult to treat and aggressive type of breast cancer, Triple Negative. After a grueling year of chemo, losing her beautiful curls, sickness, surgery and radiation, we were cautiously optimistic that she would beat the odds and remain cancer-free for years to come. Life seemed back to normal.

But early in 2013, Denise felt a lump on the side of her neck. She also noticed her left arm was showing signs of lymphedema. Our deepest fears were confirmed. Her cancer had returned and metastasized into her lymph system. Despite a year of chemo, it spread to her bones, brain and liver. In 2014, she required surgery to insert a drain into her lung and underwent aggressive chemo and radiation to help with severe pain and breathing difficulty the tumors were causing.

By summer 2014, scans showed that the cancer was spreading quickly and causing intolerable pain to her weakened body. She told her family that she knew she wasn't going to get better. She was suffering greatly when she made the brave decision to terminate further treatment. She passed away surrounded in the love of her family on July 11, 2014.

All who knew Denise were humbled by her quiet strength and amazing attitude. In her final days, she told her children about how proud she was of them and reassured them that they would have a wonderful life. Her biggest concern through all of this was her family and making sure they were taken care of. 

Through all of Denise's illness, David never left her side. They had been together since 9th grade and he was unbelievably devoted to her. Denise could not have chosen a better husband and father for her children. He made taking care of her his full-time job, and for that we are eternally grateful.

On behalf our beloved Denise, David, and their beautiful children, Nathaniel and Katrina, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your thoughts, prayers and any donation you can make to help them through this most difficult time.

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on January 13, 2015 by Team Wonder Twin

A year ago when we started this process, we weren't sure how we'd ever get through the financial and emotional strain of a terminal illness. We weren't even sure if asking for help was the right thing to do, despite how dire the situation was. But you understood and never thought twice about opening your hearts to help Denise and David in their time of need. From donations and fundraising events to cards and never-ending meals. Your love poured in.

Our family is still grieving such an enormous loss, but our memories and love for her keep us strongly together. To quote Denise's favorite movie:

"Strange, isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?" -- Clarence, It's a Wonderful Life

Denise left her mark on all of us and on this world. But, thanks in no small part to all of you, we do know she left this life surrounded in love.

So as we close out our fundraiser and continue on without our beloved Denise, we again want to say, "thank you." Your support through this journey has been amazing.

Team Wonder Twin

Posted on October 1, 2014 by Team Wonder Twin


Come cheer on the Lady Colts as they take on South Park. Wear your pink and show your support for the Holzer family (CV Alums).

When: Thursday, October 9th
Where: CV Stadium - 50 Thoms Run Rd, Bridgeville, PA 15017
Time: JV at 6pm, Varsity at 7:30PM

There will be a bake sale, Chinese auction, 50/50 and more! All proceeds will be donated to the Holzer family. For more information, download the flyer in photos or contact Kari Milko at

Posted on August 28, 2014 by Team Wonder Twin

Team Wonder Twin will be participating in the 2014 Family Hospice & Palliative Care Memorial Walk/Run in memory of Denise. She will be included in a video tribute in the Memorial Tent. We will also be partnering with Beggy's Battalion to remember our friend, Mary Beth Beggy, who also passed away from cancer this year.

Saturday, September 6th
Walk starts at 10am (registration opens at 8:30am)
North Shore Riverfront Park

If you'd like to join us, please register here:

Posted on July 31, 2014 by Team Wonder Twin
An event hosted by BNI Western Pennsylvania

After a long courageous battle with breast cancer Denise Holzer passed away on July 11, 2014. Her husband and our dear friend, David L. Holzer
, was steadfastly by her side providing boundless love, support and medical oversight. Over $50,000 of out of pocket expenses occurred and we ask your help for David, Nathanieland Katrina. 

Join us for coffee (David loves coffee) and an open house networking event. Purchase raffle tickets, bid on auction items and there may be a few surprises!

When: Thursday August 14th 9:00 to 11:00 am and 2:00 to 4:00 pm

Where: Carnegie Coffee Company – upstairs. The Carnegie Coffee Company has generously donated the space!

How Much: No fee to attend. Buy raffle tickets for GIFT BASKETS and AUCTION ITEMS. (Purchase your own coffee and food from Carnegie Coffee.)

Come for 15 minutes or stay for an hour!

Posted on July 23, 2014 by Team Wonder Twin

PLEASE NOTE: The Night at the Races fundraiser event that was planned for early August has been indefinitely postponed. But our family has been discussing ways to continue to honor Denise's memory for years to come. Any news will continue to be posted here, so check back and subscribe to the update emails. 

Thank you again for all of your love, prayers and support for the Holzer and Minnis families during this difficult time.

Posted on July 21, 2014 by Team Wonder Twin

Denise's favorite movie was It's a Wonderful Life. Her home is decorated with sayings from it and she watched it year-round. At the end of the movie when George Bailey reads the book inscription that his guardian angel, Clarence, wrote, it says,

"Remember, no man is a failure who has friends. Thanks for the wings!"

When David got home from the hospital the day Denise left us, he found a piece of paper in her purse. She had written those words down in her last days. She also wrote that when we asked for help, all of you stepped up, no questions asked. She was so grateful to be surrounded by your love and charity. I felt it was important to share this with all of you, our friends.

Thank you for helping Denise get her wings.

Posted on July 4, 2014 by Team Wonder Twin

If you’ve ever had cancer or known someone who has, then you know that this is a journey filled with good days and bad days. And you never know when either will happen. This week was unexpectedly difficult for Denise.

Tuesday started out as many other days. Denise and David began their daily routine at home. Following a nap, David had difficulty getting her to wake up. She was taken to the ER by ambulance and the team at Magee did an amazing job of getting her stabilized while running a series of tests to figure out what was causing her unresponsiveness. She was intubated to help with her labored breathing and critically low blood pressure. In a few short hours, she was again able to communicate, alert and aware. She was admitted to the ICU where she is still under 24-hour care.

Results of testing show that the cancer has spread to Denise’s liver and is affecting her stomach. Fluid has been an ongoing issue due to the tumors in her lymph system, causing her breathing struggles and lymphedema. She has developed pneumonia. And she is still battling the side effects of radiation. With these issues and the news of the cancer spreading, her oncology team is mapping out a new treatment plan, including moving into clinical trials in addition to chemo and other procedures to ease her symptoms and make her most comfortable.

If you know Denise well, you know she has an indomitable will. She has not stopped trying to wean off the ventilator and get stable enough to get home. She has been surrounded by her parents, sisters and, of course, David. Yesterday marked 21 years of marriage for Denise and David. Though it wasn’t how they ever expected to spend the day, there is no better example of true love.

As always, we thank you for all your kind words and support. Your donations have kept this family afloat and your prayers and good thoughts continue to feed their spirit. No one knows what each day has in store, but we remain positive and hopeful as we take on every one.

Team Wonder Twin

Posted on June 30, 2014 by Team Wonder Twin

Denise made it through radiation treatments on her brain, neck and hips. While it continues to be a daily battle dealing with the side effects caused by such aggressive treament, we are grateful that she is again home with her family where she is most comfortable. She has started back on weekly chemotherapy treatments and we look forward to improvements each day.

We jokingly told David he has a future as a nurse because he has gotten so good at caring for Denise. He respectfully said, "no thanks." :-) But we cannot imagine how anyone gets through something like this without having such a great spouse to give constant care. David is truly an amazing husband and father.

On a side note, they say, "when it rains, it pours." In this case, literally. Recent severe rainstorms caused flooding in the Holzer's basement where David's office, their family room and laundry room are located. Many of their belongings were ruined. We are all pitching in to help with the damage and hopefully get that space functional again soon.

We are so lucky to have such generous friends, family and complete strangers who know what it's like to be touched by cancer. Your continued support, prayers, postive thoughts, gifts of food, etc. are the glue holding this family together. We cannot thank you enough.

Posted on June 10, 2014 by Team Wonder Twin

Team Wonder Twin is again saddened to experience the loss of another friend and supporter, Mary Beth Beggy Fischerkeller. MB was an amazing person. Her efforts with the Cancer Caring Center and her valiant fight to beat this disease serve as hope to those still fighting. We send our love and heartfelt condolences to the Beggy and Fischerkeller families as they take this final journey with their beloved sister.

Posted on June 10, 2014 by Team Wonder Twin
Just a brief update on Denise, since so many of you send us messages asking how she's doing. If you know Denise, you will know that she is not one to share much personally and she despises anyone feeling sorry for her. She is still in the process of aggressive radiation treatments and dealing with the many issues that come along with that. David has not left her side throughout and is hands-on in her care 24/7. We continue this fight with her, one day at a time. Thank you for all of your generous donations and positive thoughts. Words can not possibly express our gratitude.

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