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Hawkeyes celebrate 10 years of Kids Captains
October 26, 2018

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The University of Iowa Kid Captain, a partnership that began in 2009 between UI Stead Family Children's Hospital and the Iowa Hawkeyes, recently celebrated a decade of honoring pediatric patients and celebrating their inspirational stories.

Over the last 10 years, 134 children from 89 cities in seven states have represented the Hawkeyes as Kid Captains. On Oct. 20, more than 100 of the strongest and bravest Hawkeyes, along with the families of four children who have died since their Kid Captain experience, returned to Kinnick Stadium to celebrate homecoming and 10 seasons of the program.

The program blossomed from an idea to make the trip to Iowa City more fun and exciting for a few patients at the children's hospital. Kids from around the state and the country come to the hospital to be treated for a vast range of illnesses, which often prevent them from playing sports and doing other things that healthy kids are able to do.

The Kid Captains for each year are announced in the summer, and the experience begins in August with Kids Day, a special event in which all the Kid Captains for the upcoming season come to the stadium to get an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour, walk through the tunnel, and meet the players and coaches for autographs.

"We all have bad days, but I'll look at their pictures or read their stories and be reminded that there are people that are going through things that are so difficult at such a young age," said Cheryl Hodgson, founder of the program, in an interview with The Daily Iowan. "They're so optimistic, and they just want to get out of the hospital, and go back to school, and be a kid."

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