Greater Cedar Rapids Open makes donation to UI’s Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center

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March 28, 2014 | 1:34 pm

The Greater Cedar Rapids Open is living up to the commitment it made last year to raise awareness about the prevention of melanoma, and to help find a cure for what is commonly referred to as the most dangerous type of skin cancer.

Tournament Co-Founder Jim McPartland recently presented Mary Rettig of The University of Iowa Foundation and Dr. Mohammed Milhem, who has spent the past six years building the melanoma program at The University of Iowa’s Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center, with a $6,000 check to benefit melanoma research.

According to Dr. Milhem, melanoma is a “very dangerous disease” that claims the lives of about 82 Iowans each year. The number of diagnosed cases in Iowa increased from 100 in 1973 to about 600 in 2008. Milhem said raising awareness is paramount in the battle against melanoma and he appreciates the efforts of organizations like the GCRO.

“What’s absent in Iowa is an awareness about melanoma, but groups like the Greater Cedar Rapids Open who come together and advocate for better circumstances, and try to protect people from the harmful effects of the sun is vital to survival,” said Milhem. “The reality is this is a killer disease once it has established itself inside your system. It can be fatal very quickly.”

Since its inception in 1999, the GCRO has awarded more than $115,000 to various non-profit organizations throughout the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City Corridor. Those groups include Camp Courageous, the Salvation Army, the Cedar Rapids Optimist Junior Golf Association, and The Boys and Girls Clubs.

In 2012, the GCRO announced that a portion of the funds raised through the annual tournament, which is held at Hunters Ridge Golf Course in Marion, will now be directed to The University of Iowa Foundation to benefit melanoma research at the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center.

For more information about the GCRO, visit www.gcropen.com. You also may call Co-Founder Jim McPartland at 319-310-5745 or Co-Chair Connor Lewis at (319) 400-4337. Information about the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center is available at www.uihealthcare.org/HoldenComprehensiveCancerCenter/. If you have questions about melanoma research, contact Dr. Mohammed Milhem at mohammed.milhem@uiowa.edu.

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