UI student and cancer survivor connect through Courage Ride

Devin Martz, 11, sits on a bicycle while Conor Bryant, 22, assists him earlier this year. Bryant helped design and build an adaptive pedal after Martz lost part of his leg to bone cancer last year. Photo courtesy of the Martz family

For an 11-year-old kid, Devin Martz isn't fazed by much.

"You know, challenges come up. I just do it," he says.

That's saying a lot - considering the past 13 months of his life.

Last summer, doctors found a tumor inside Devin's left leg. He was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer.

After a rotationplasty procedure and chemotherapy, Devin is cancer-free and starting to get back to doing things he loves again.

Riding a bike hasn't been checked off that list yet, but it will be soon - thanks in part to the efforts of a University of Iowa engineering student.

Conor Bryant, 22, has lost two friends to sarcoma cancer. He had been involved with The Courage Ride during their battle. In just 12 years, the bike ride fundraiser has brought in more than $500,000 for sarcoma cancer research.

Devin is the official honoree for the 2017 ride - and will be riding in the event on August 19 in Kalona. He'll do that by using an adaptive bike pedal that Conor helped design and build this summer.

"When you have an opportunity to help somebody who's affected by what your friend was affected by," Conor says, "even though he's passed, you can make a physical difference today."

"There is a lot of hope for me to do things that I've always wanted to do since all this happened," Devin says. "I think it'll just be cool when I am able to ride a bike again."

Devin's journey can be followed at the Dab'n For Devin Facebook page.

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