Dr. Mohammed 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!

Mohammed Milhem, MD


Dr. Benjamin Miller

Dr. Benjamin Miller is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in cancer care and limb salvage surgery in sarcoma, metastatic bone disease, and benign bone and soft tissue tumors. After receiving his medical degree at the University of Iowa, Dr. Miller completed his orthopedic surgery residency at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois and his orthopedic oncology fellowship at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. His research focuses on chondrosarcoma, osteosarcoma, Ewing's sarcoma, and outcome analysis in musculoskeletal tumors. He is currently serving as leader of the Sarcoma Multidisciplinary Oncology Group.

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.

Benjamin Miller, MD


Dr. Munir 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


Dr. Varun Monga

Dr. Varun Monga, Clinical Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine, Division of Hematology Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplantation and co-director of the Adolescent and Young Adult program at the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center and Stead Family Children’s Hospital has been at the University of Iowa since 2011. He is interested in exploring role of metabolism (how cancer cells use energy) and targeted therapies in sarcomas.

I joined this dedicated and energetic group of physicians and scientists all of whom are geared towards caring for patients with sarcoma. It is an exciting time in the world of sarcoma research and therapy as newer drugs and treatment combinations are being developed and tested in clinical trials. Targeted and immunotherapy are showing promising results. But a lot more needs to be done to improve our current understanding of this disease and lead to better cures for sarcoma. Only with more research can this become a reality.

Your philanthropic contribution to the Courage Ride will help support our research team to come a step closer to curing sarcoma. Come join our team and ride a bike!

Varun Monga, MD


Dr. George J. Weiner

George J. Weiner, MD is the Director of the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Iowa. He also serves as C.E. Block Chair of Cancer Research, Professor of Internal Medicine, and a faculty member in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Immunology at the University of Iowa. He is the Director of the University of Iowa / Mayo Clinic Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) in Lymphoma, Past President of the Association of American Cancer Institutes and Past President of the Iowa Cancer Consortium.

Dr. Weiner obtained his undergraduate education from Johns Hopkins University, his medical degree at The Ohio State University, his Internal Medicine Training at the Medical College of Ohio and his Oncology and Hematology training at The University of Michigan where he also trained in tumor immunology. He has been a faculty member at the University of Iowa since 1989. Dr. Weiner is board certified in Internal Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology. Away from work, Dr. Weiner enjoys spending time with his family, jogging, cycling, photography, and the occasional scuba dive.

As an avid cyclist, I enjoy the Courage Ride every year. As the Director of the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center, I understand it is more than an enjoyable ride with friends and colleagues. We are making progress against cancer faster than ever before, but that progress is not fast enough. I am approached weekly by Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers with fantastic new ideas. Often, the limiting factor that is slowing them down is resources to conduct the proposed research. The Courage Ride has made a huge difference in our ability to provide resources for new and innovative cancer research ideas at Holden. Even a small amount of support can help researchers get enough preliminary data to apply successfully for larger grants from other organizations. The results of that research can then have an impact on the lives of our patients. Nothing can be more important than that.

George J. Weiner, MD


Dr. Joseph 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!

Joseph Buckwalter, MD