Courage Ride, honoring the life of Seth Bailey, is an annual bike ride through rural Iowa. Courage Ride is dedicated to improving the lives of those affected by sarcoma.


Members of the Courage Ride committee presented a check for $80,000 to the University of Iowa’s Sarcoma Research Program during a Nov. 1 ceremony at the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center. Accepting the check were Dr. Ben Miller and Dr. Munir Tanas, the Center’s Sarcoma Program leaders.

The ceremony also included the presentation of a check for $13,631 from the 100+ Men Who Care—Hawkeye Chapter to Courage Ride. The donation played a part in helping Courage Ride fly past its goal of $60,000 by $20,000. Courage Ride 2016 also bested last year’s event by attracting 498 participants over last year’s 378.

All proceeds from each year’s Courage Ride go to the University of Iowa Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center Sarcoma Research Program. Eighty-five percent of the program’s research funding comes from Courage Ride. To date, the $300,000 raised by Courage Ride has supported 22 sarcoma clinical trials and created the Midwest’s only sarcoma tissue bank. 

The significance of Courage Ride is underscored by the fact that funding for cancer research has been shrinking over the past 10 years, according to the American Association for Cancer Research. And yet cancer remains one of the nation’s costliest diseases. Approximately 15,000 sarcoma cases are diagnosed in the U.S. each year and over 6,000 are expected to die from it. Over 100 adults and children in Iowa are diagnosed with sarcoma each year. Sarcoma receives 1 to 2 percent of all cancer research funding. 


Why Sarcoma?

There are two types of sarcomas: soft tissue and bone. Soft tissue sarcomas are found in the soft tissues of the body (muscle, fat, blood vessels, nerves, joints, etc). Some soft tissue sarcomas are more commonly found in children while other types are more commonly found in adults. Kaposi’s sarcoma and Rhabdomyosarcoma are both types of soft tissue sarcomas. Early stage soft tissue sarcoma might not show any symptoms but as the tumor grows, a lump, swelling or possibly pain could arise.  
Bone sarcomas are rare and are found in the bone - most commonly longer bones such as those found in limbs. Like soft tissue sarcoma, some bone sarcomas are more common in children and other types are more common in adults. Three of the most common sub-types of bone sarcomas are Chondrosarcoma, Ewing’s sarcoma and Osteosarcoma. Common symptoms include bone pain, broken bones and tenderness in the affected area.

Courage Ride is dedicated to the memory of Seth Bailey, son of our founders Tom and Jackie Bailey. Seth was diagnosed with soft-tissue synovial sarcoma cancer and after a courageous battle Seth passed away in 2003. Since 2005 the Courage Ride has been focused on raising funds and awareness for this rare form of cancer. 

How can you help?

When you or a loved one is diagnosed with a life-threatening condition such as cancer, you may find yourself wanting to help those who are also affected. There are many ways you can make a difference for those affected by cancer.


Working with organizations, such as the Courage Ride, is a great way to make a positive impact on the lives of those affected by cancer. 

Support Research

Raise or donate money to cancer research at your local cancer center. Courage Ride donates the proceeds from our annual ride to the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. To date, we have donated nearly $300,000 to the center, supporting a variety of cancer research initiatives, all made possible from our generous supporters. 

Get Involved

There are so many events developed by those touched by cancer, and we are happy to count the Courage Ride among them. Participate or get involved in helping to organize the Courage Ride. It is a great way to support others and to meet other survivors!

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics
Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center

Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center has collaborated with the friends and family of Seth A. Bailey and the Bicyclists of Iowa City to put on a Courage Ride to honor the courage of all those who have battled cancer. Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center is dedicated to bringing world class research and cancer care to Iowa, the Midwest, and beyond.

The University of Iowa Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center has an expert team that specialize in treating sarcomas. Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center is also a member of the Sarcoma Alliance for Research Collaboration and the Mayo Clinic Phase 2 Consortium, which gives our doctors the ability to offer more clinical trials to their sarcoma patients.

Holden Cancer Center is Iowa's only NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center and has held that designation since 2000. The NCI designation recognizes the cancer center, and its research scientists, physicians and other health care professionals, for their roles in advancing cancer research that impacts on the ability to prevent, detect and treat patients with cancer.

Want to learn more about the sarcoma program at the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center? Visit their page at:

Impact of the Courage Ride

Dr. Mohammed Milhem, Medical Oncologist at The University of Iowa Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center shared what that difference is with the Courage Ride planning committee on Monday, May 21st 2012. To date, the Courage Ride has raised nearly $300,000 for cancer research at the University of Iowa Cancer Center. 

Dr. Milhem's specialty is Sarcoma and Melanoma care and research. Though there are over 100 subtypes of sarcoma, it is one of the rarer types of cancer. In 2011, it was predicted that less than 1% of people in the US would be diagnosed with sarcoma. Though the National Cancer Institute has improved funding for sarcoma research over the past few years, funding for sarcoma research falls far short when compared to other, more common cancers. Because of this, it is very hard for centers to get a sarcoma-focused program of research up and going.

Dr. Milhem shared that because of the generous donations from the Courage Ride, he has been able to get a robust program started at the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center. When he came to Iowa in 2007, there were no sarcoma clinical trials open at the University of Iowa. There are now 14 clinical trials open for sarcoma alone. It is very important that medical oncologists and others that care for people with and do research on sarcoma partner and share news and ideas. Clinical trials help doctors and researchers learn what the best treatments are for cancer. Cancer discoveries can take 10+ years before being a standard part of treatment and can cost $3 million dollars per person from the time it was an idea in a researchers head until it is a treatment for all with the diagnosis. Because less than 30% of sarcomas respond to chemotherapy, people with sarcoma need to be able to get new drugs and treatments. Having many studies with different treatments and treatments for different stages of disease provides this chance for patients. Dr. Milhem has helped to start the Midwest Sarcoma Initiative where doctors from UIHC, Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, Washington University-St. Louis, Northwestern University in Illinois and the University of Wisconsin are now networking to share facts and clinical trials for patients across the Midwest. Dr. Milhem and other medical oncologists are now able to offer treatment for people with metastatic (cancer that has spread in the body) sarcoma that results in many years of quality life, something that he was not able to offer before.

The contributions from the Courage Ride gave Dr. Milhem and the program at UIHC a platform or "a step up." It has helped to support a sarcoma tissue bank where tissue and blood are stored for study. Researchers use this stored tissue and blood to learn more about the disease and how it grows and spreads. Learning more about cancers can help personalize the care people get for the traits their cancer has. Money raised from the Courage Ride supports the Sarcoma Research Program led by Drs. Ben Miller and Munir Tanas. It helps the University of Iowa Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center reach goals now and into the future. Thank you for your donations and support of the Courage Ride!

Letter from Dr. Milhem

Dr. Mohammed Milhem, Professor of Internal Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology and Blood & Marrow Transplantation, and Deputy Director of Clinical Cancer Services in the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center has been at the University of Iowa since 2007. He has interests in small molecules used to treat cancer especially in how cancer decides its fate (epigenetics). He is interested in studying the ability to change the fate of cancer cells leading to their death. Dr. Milhem is a member of a special team called the Multidisciplinary Oncology Group for sarcoma, specializing in deciding the best care for patients. His team joined a larger national group, SARC, and is actively participating in clinical Trials.

I am not only asking you to join me and support the ride against cancer, I am asking you to become a part of the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center team. Research is the only tool we have to increase our understanding of this disease.

Partnering with the Courage Ride and helping to fund research allows us to unite and create first-rate cancer care through innovative ideas. All the money raised for this event will go directly to the center for research into this complex disease. With your contribution, you make a difference in the lives of the patients that my team treats.

Courage Ride sponsors, riders, patients and families and the medical team will work together for one day as partners in the cure for cancer.

Let us unite!

Dr. Mohammed Milhem

Letter from Dr. Miller

Benjamin Miller, M.D.
Clinical Assistant Professor
Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation
Leader of the Sarcoma Research Program

While I never had the opportunity to meet Seth personally, I have been fortunate enough to get to know Jackie, Tom, and the rest of the outstanding Courage Ride team since starting at Iowa in 2010. I am continually surprised and awed by the commitment of patients and their friends and family in the fight against this terrible affliction. Sarcoma specifically is challenging given the rarity of the disease and the lack of awareness in the population at large. But sarcoma can affect anyone, at any time in their life, and it is truly a life-altering event for all involved.

It is not easy for an individual to make a difference in such a daunting task as curing cancer. Often it is a struggle to even decide if the effort is worth it, if one contribution matters. Well, it matters. Every donation and act of support, regardless how small, does help. Only when a group of individuals combine with a common goal does it become a movement. And with a movement, truly spectacular achievements are possible. The Courage Ride has become a staple in the philanthropic support of cancer research at the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Iowa. By harnessing the enthusiasm and support of the Courage Ride participants, we have been able to advance the care of sarcoma in tangible ways, and we have no plans to stop.

So, what can one person do to help cure sarcoma?

You can ride a bike. For Seth, for those currently on their journey with sarcoma, and for those to come.

Letter from Dr. Tanas

Dr. Tanas is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology and Co-Leader of the Sarcoma Research Program at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. 

I feel very fortunate to have joined the dedicated group of individuals mentioned above this last year.

I am a physician-scientist with a research focus in sarcomas. One of the exciting aspects of being involved in sarcoma research are the significant advances made in the field over the past 20 years. Diagnosis of these cancers is becoming ever more precise, and the driving genetic events for most sarcomas have been identified at this point. In many respects, we are at a tipping point with regards to being able to design drugs which specifically target these molecular events, and I strongly believe that the greater sarcoma community will overcome the remaining obstacles to targeted therapy in the upcoming years.

However much work remains to be done to treat these challenging cancers more effectively and to overcome the challenges associated with studying a rare group of cancers. Working together, I sincerely believe we can do this, and I invite you to join us and be part of the team!

Munir R. Tanas, MD

Letter from Dr. Buckwalter

Dr. Joseph A. Buckwalter is a professor of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. His clinical practice and research interests include arthritis, healing of joint injuries, metastatic cancer of the skeleton and primary tumors of the skeleton and musculoskeletal soft tissues.

To all who are concerned about cancer:

For 30 years I have worked with people suffering from cancer. They have inspired me with their courage, empathy and love of life, and shown me the strength of the human spirit in the face of adversity. Sadly, the limitations of current treatments prevent us from curing many cancer patients. Seth Bailey, a young man with great promise and exceptional warmth and fortitude, and a patient of mine, was one of those individuals. The desire of Seth’s parents to help other cancer patients led them to start the tour. I can think of no more appropriate memorial to Seth than The Courage Ride and no more noble cause than increasing support for advancing understanding of cancer so that more people suffering from this disease can live full, productive and happy lives.

Today I am asking you to join me as we move forward to give people a fighting chance to live through cancer and thrive with treatment. We want to be able to tell patients that through research, we know how best to treat their cancer. All of us in the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center want to be able to optimally treat patients who come to us for help. The Courage Ride gives my colleagues and I at The University of Iowa a chance to do just that.

All of the money raised for this event will go directly to Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Iowa for research into this complex disease.

We know we can make a difference and you can too by sponsoring part of our ride. Please join us this August. Come for breakfast, entertainment or to ride as we honor the active lifestyle and courage of Seth Bailey and all other individuals and families who know firsthand how to fight cancer.

Fight with me!

Dr. Joseph Buckwalter