Lisa Overcash

Honoring Remarkable Women

In Buzz, March 2020 by Raleigh Magazine

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For International Women’s Month, Raleigh Magazine partner CBS 17 joins Nexstar Media Group in honoring “Remarkable Women” across the country and to honor the influence women have had on public policy, social progress and the quality of life. In the Triangle, CBS 17 station staff selected four outstanding women, as nominated by friends, family members and significant others. These women’s stories will be featured in local newscasts and on CBS17.com. Their stories, as told in nomination letters from their loved ones excerpted below, are compelling, inspiring and, sometimes, heartbreaking. CBS 17 will announce our local winner March 6.

Eduarta Holl, Ph.D.

Eda Holl

“…Eda is contributing to improving cancer treatment and patient care in the Raleigh-Durham community. In her youth, Eda was exposed to health and patient care throughout the world. During these formative years, Eda shared in her mother’s battle with metastatic breast cancer—a fight that continues to this day and is now entering its 25th year. Determined to provide all families hope (not just her own), Eda has dedicated her life to basic science research and its translational application to clinical care at Duke University as an assistant professor in the Department of Surgery…

Eda goes above and beyond her peers by contributing to Duke’s Institutional Review Board—ensuring patient safety in our community—and serving on the National Institutes of Health ‘Study Section’ to help direct the future of clinical trials in America. 

Eda and I have been married for almost 15 years and I couldn’t ask for a more caring and supportive spouse. Eda is the mother of two exceptional children—one child with high scholastic aptitude and one child afflicted with severe speech apraxia. Eda provides the support and guidance equally well to both and meets their needs at their two very different levels. Eda is truly exceptional and remarkable to balance these difficult life goals…”

Lisa Overcash

Lisa Overcash

“…Lisa is quite a remarkable woman. From a young age, she has been goal-oriented, determined to accomplish whatever goal emerges. She received a BS in Recreation Management at NC State University and an MS in Therapeutic Recreation at UNC Chapel Hill. She’s worked professionally as a Recreation Therapist in medical/surgical pediatrics, psychiatry, chemical dependency and eating disorders in various hospitals, including locally at Duke Hospital. Lisa has been married 31 years to Tommy, her childhood friend, and they have four adult daughters and one granddaughter.

…Lisa also works as a Postpartum Doula. She helps identify in a person’s life ways they can improve physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Every hour that she coaches, instructs or assists a new mother and baby, she donates her time to someone in need of her services….

…Lisa knows what it feels like to be knocked off her feet and have to climb back on top again. She has had multiple sclerosis for 17 years, but it does not have her, that’s for sure. She chooses to rise above the obstacles and challenges.

Lisa serves the community as a certified Therapy Dog team member with River, her Golden Retriever that she trained from a puppy. They do special request visitations to hospice, homes, universities, special events and NODA—No One Dies Alone—visits and stays with people who do not have any family that can be with them as they die. River is also her service dog that helps her navigate the multiple sclerosis symptoms. River was recently a finalist in the Good Morning America Pet of the Year Contest…”

Alketa Stephens

Alketa Stephens

“…Keta grew up in Albania with three siblings and parents all sharing a tiny apartment. Her humble living circumstances laid a foundation for Keta to be so adaptable and to love ‘community.’ 

…Keta completed her math degree at Tirana University. While there, serving in a campus ministry that provided food and shelter to the poor, she met and married her American husband, Mark. They have two sons, Daniel, who is pursuing a career in professional baseball, and Aaron, who was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease before he was even born. While Aaron was in the hospital fighting for his life, Keta and Mark became his greatest medical advocates, but sadly, his life on Earth ended abruptly at just eight months old. This was Keta’s catalyst that motivated her to pursue nursing. She attended Nursing school at Durham Tech and then went on to work at Duke Raleigh Hospital. After three years there, she won the prestigious ‘Friends of Nursing Excellence Award,’ through Duke University Health Systems. Keta went on to study for her Masters at Duke to obtain a Nurse Practitioner license and was set to graduate with honors with only one class left to complete. Following a medical mission trip to Honduras, her whole life was paused…

…Keta was driving home from her nephew’s soccer game and was side-swiped. She tragically suffered a severe TBI and a broken neck. She was in a coma, prayers and tears poured out day and night, and then … ‘a miracle;’ she woke up and now, just six months later, is walking, talking, and her amazing, loving personality is exactly the same…”

Stephanie Walker

Stephanie Walker

“…For 38 years, my wife served as a nurse, the last 10 as a hospice nurse. In 2015, she was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer (MBC), a terminal disease. Except for the recovery time from a double mastectomy, she never missed a day’s work or serving others while she underwent both chemo and radiation.

In 2018, her oncologist told her it was time to quit working and take care of herself. From that point on, she has dedicated her life to continue serving others.

In eastern North Carolina, MBC occurs at a higher rate than elsewhere in the country and eastern North Carolina is a medically underserved region. My wife advocates for those with MBC, especially African Americans such as herself. She has gone to Washington to lobby legislators for increased and lower cost insurance and she advocates for those with MBC by attending conferences and participating in forums.

In December, the Susan G. Komen Triangle to the Coast affiliate presented her with its ‘Spirit to Impact’ award, given to an individual making an impact by supporting survivors/thrivers and being a catalyst for change in breast cancer outcomes.

Under present circumstances, my wife’s disease is not curable. She receives monthly maintenance treatments and will until they stop working. 

In the meantime, she is ‘Mimi’ to six grandchildren and volunteers with Kindred Hospice, visiting with terminal cancer patients, as well as at UNC-Nash Hospital, where she volunteers in a quality improvement program…

…She can’t say ‘no’ to someone who needs help she feels she can provide.

…Her goal is to increase treatment opportunities for the medically underserved cancer community in eastern North Carolina and, knowing my wife, she will.”

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