Above + Beyond Cancer is a public charity with a mission to elevate the lives of those touched by cancer, to create a healthier world.

What We Do

Founded in 2011 by Des Moines, Iowa Oncologist Dr. Richard Deming, our team takes cancer survivors on incredible adventures. Above + Beyond Cancer journeys have led participants to places like Mount Everest Base Camp and the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, but our work isn’t about getting to the tops of mountains. Through our transformational journeys, our participants inspire the public by devoting themselves to a life of advocacy and leading an example for healthy living and cancer prevention in their communities.

We Believe
  • Everyone’s life is touched by cancer.
  • Cancer is a mind-body-spirit journey.
  • Health, fitness and good nutrition are critical to prevention and survivorship.
  • Patients and survivors can be empowered to pursue ambitious goals.
  • Survivor and caregiver storytelling bring understanding and hope.
  • Good public policy can help reduce cancer.
Watch Life Begins Again

Our Team

Richard Deming, M.D
Founder & Chairman

Dr. Richard Deming is medical director of Mercy Cancer Center in Des Moines, Iowa. He received a bachelor’s degree at South Dakota State University and his medical degree at Creighton University. Dr. Deming is known in the community for the compassionate care he provides cancer patients and their families. He is involved in many national, state and community organizations and is the recipient of numerous awards. He was awarded the Lane Adams Award by the American Cancer Society for excellence and compassion in patient care. He is the recipient of “the one hundred” Award by Massachusetts General Hospital for his work with cancer survivors. He was awarded the Iowa Cancer Champion Award for his tireless efforts in the field of advocacy. He is dedicated to the principals of human dignity, social justice, and compassion. His greatest ambition is to encourage others to pursue lives of meaning, purpose, passion and compassion.

Executive Director Chris Goodale

Chris Goodale
Executive Director

Chris Goodale has more than 25 years of experience in nonprofit management with an emphasis on fundraising. He spent more than 14 years at Simpson College, his alma mater, in the Office of College Advancement. He has also been involved in development work at both the Drake Law School and the University of Iowa Foundation. The start of Goodale’s nonprofit work was when he was the Executive Director of Indianola’s National Balloon Classic in the early 1990s.

As a cancer survivor himself, Chris understands first hand the issues related to cancer survivorship and the importance of Above + Beyond Cancer’s mission.  Having served as a member of the Above + Beyond Cancer Board, Chris also has a keen understanding of the inner workings of this special organization. He was drawn to this organization because it encompasses all people who have been affected by cancer survivors, as well as all of the family, friends, and medical professionals who care for them.

To reach Chris please email him at chris@aboveandbeyondcancer.org

Mary Van Heukelom
Health & Fitness Director

Mary Van Heukelom co-creates and leads the Optimal Living for Cancer Survivor Programs, in partnership with the YMCA.  She trains, educates and coaches cancer survivors to reduce the chance of relapse, and enhance recovery, through the implementation of holistic personal wellness programs that address all aspects of healthy living.   Mary is a Certified Cancer Exercise Trainer and Wellness Coach (MA, CPT-CET-ACSM, RRCA) who leads the Total Training Class, a small group personal training program for survivors at the Wellmark YMCA of Des Moines, teaches Mindfulness Meditation, and facilitates book club and bike club.  She guides the Adventure Fitness Programs to promote healthy engagement outdoors. Mary trained, trekked and led Cancer Survivor teams to the Base Camp of Mt. Everest, Summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, and Huayna PIcchu, participated in Coast to Coast for Cancer and co- coached Above + Beyond Cancer’s 2012 Race Across America cycling team. Her professional life purpose is to inspire others to discover their Optimal Health, of body, mind and spirit.  She loves adventure, the outdoors, and time with her teens, Anna and Luke.

You can reach Mary at mary@aboveandbeyondcancer.org

Kelsey Parker
Development Director

Kelsey Parker is a fundraising professional with over 10 years of experience in nonprofit management. She has experience in nonprofit programs, operations, grant management, fund development, special events, volunteer supervision and nonprofit board organization. Kelsey is driven by a passion for connecting and is inspired to improve community members’ lives through philanthropic support and volunteerism. She is a graduate of Iowa State University and pursued continuing education courses at the University of Indiana Center Fundraising School. Kelsey volunteers with the Parent Teacher Organization at Waukee Elementary and the local library. She resides in Waukee with her husband, Dave and three children, Abi, Bryce & Ira along with their 3 fur babies.

You can reach Kelsey via email at Kelsey@aboveandbeyondcancer.org


Board of Directors

Teresa Adams-Tomka
Board Of Directors

Debbie Avitt
Board Of Directors

David Benson
Board Of Directors


Lyndi Buckingham-Schutt
Board Of Directors


Chuck & Diane Cutler
Board Of Directors

Vernon Delpesce
Board Of Directors

Kelly Donato
Board Of Directors

Jerry Foster
Board Of Directors

Jason Herrig

Jason Herrig
Board Of Directors


Dr Andy Nish
Board Of Directors

Doug Reichardt
Board Of Directors

Reed Rinderknecht
Board Of Directors

Dr. Shah

Dr. Yogi Shah
Board Of Directors

Greg Shireman
Board Of Directors

Michael Zimmerman

Michael Zimmerman
Board Of Directors

Kent Zimmerman
Board Member Emeritus

Johnny Danos (dec.)
Board Member Emeritus