Holly Vonasek-Blake

Holly is facing a grim prognosis of Pancreatic Cancer with strength and grace and refuses to give up!!  


Don and Holly Holly's friends and family have started this gofundme page to help with expenses her husband, Don and she have incurred.  Holly conquered cancer over 30 years ago and it reared its ugly head again. 

Minnesota friends: Laura, Deb, Linda, Holly and Stacy


Here is Holly's story: 

Holly has lived her life as no one should have had to endure and yet she has endured and loved those around her. Holly is a 54 year old wife, grandmother, sister, friend, and daughter that has survived five bouts of cancer, starting at age 16 while living in her hometown of Minnesota, and now is spending the remainder of her life living with pancreatic cancer. She is in the fourth stage of the disease. With this diagnosis Holly has been unable to work as an RN and contribute income to the family. Her husband works overtime every chance he gets but the debts are rising. Can you please help?

Here is Holly’s story. At age 16 she was diagnosed with two forms of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. After nine months of treatment she was in remission. Two years later it returned and she again endured another round of chemotherapy. At age 23 the lymphoma returned and spread throughout her body. She was told that she was terminal and given nine months to live. Her doctor was able to get her into an experimental trial at the University of Minnesota Cancer Hospital. That is where she had an autologous bone marrow transplant. She was the third person to have the treatment. It saved her life. To be closer to some of her family, she moved to Connecticut. The transplant left Holly with a very weakened immune system. She entered nursing school, began making new friends and hoped for a healthy future. She began working and eventually met her husband, Don. He is a wonderful, doting husband. Holly’s health improved and things were going very well. 

Holly developed a red spot on the back of her neck. After seeing a dermatologist, she was told that she had a common skin problem and not to worry. The spot continued to grow until it was the size of a half dollar. After seeing another dermatologist, she was diagnosed with skin cancer. It was treated and we all breathed a sigh of relief. This returned about two years later and again she was treated.

Her body, however, began to react to all of the treatments she had undergone. Her lungs were beginning to harden and she developed congestive heart failure. She worked through all of this suffering and worried that they would lose their home if she couldn’t work. This year, too ill to work, she sadly had to terminate her employment. She was on oxygen and dreadfully thin. Holly’s weight dropped dramatically again. When she turned jaundiced doctors finally discovered the pancreatic cancer. While being treated for her illness she suffered a stroke. While devastating, with physical, occupational and speech therapy she is home and almost fully recovered from the stroke.  


Don and Holly’s bills are mounting with her not being able to work. But the two of them deserve to cross a few things off of their bucket list. Here is where we can all help:
Does anyone know of an inexpensive RV rental company in the Connecticut area? Holly and Don would like to do some traveling on an RV for a few days.   

Does anyone have any airfare miles they would like to donate? Holly has never flown first class and she and Don would like to visit Minnesota and see family and friends SOON! and by golly, she deserves first class!!  

$$$!!   Medical Bills have been mounting!

If you need any information or would like to contribute another way, please contact:
Linda@ [email redacted] or
Laura@ [email redacted] 

Your contribution to Holly’s GoFundMe is helping spread MINNESOTA NICE across the country for this amazing woman! It’s a hug. It’s a prayer. It’s a chance for Holly and Don to enjoy each other and whatever time they have left together knowing that they are thought of by all of us. If you cannot afford to donate money, please include Holly in your prayers.
Thank you!

PS: We would like to raise these funds as soon as possible as they would like to do this before winter. 

Holly and Don doing some renovations

Holly and two of her grandchildren 

Grandchildren: Ulysses, Juliet and Adeline

Don, Alisha (Don's daughter) and Holly 

Friends and family at Don's 50th birthday

Brother Glen and Holly

Holly and her grandparents and brother, Lee 


Holly's cousin Chelle and Holly
  • Roxanne Swanson 
    • $25 
    • 35 mos
  • Wendy Rischmiller  
    • $30 
    • 35 mos
  • michael didato 
    • $400 
    • 35 mos
    • $25 
    • 35 mos
  • Paula Hahn 
    • $50 
    • 35 mos
See all

Fundraising team: Team Holly (3)

Linda Janke Johnson 
Raised $1,815 from 31 donations
Champlin, MN
Don Blake 
Laura Reierson 
Team member
Raised $1,190 from 5 donations
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