A 9-year-old Camanche girl is the next Kid Captain for the University of Iowa football team in their Oct. 29 home game against Northwestern.

Elyna Clements of Camanche is the University of Iowa Kid captain for Saturday, Oct. 29.

After Elyna Clements experienced burning, itchy eyes and migraine headaches, a local optometrist discovered a possible tumor behind her eye, confirmed by an MRI at a hospital. She was immediately referred to University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital in January 2021, where doctors were waiting for her in the emergency room, according to a University of Iowa release.                                                                               

That night, Elyna had surgery to insert a drain to reduce fluid pressure on her brain, and two days later, underwent a nine-hour surgery to remove the rare, slow-growing brain tumor, called a craniopharyngioma. Though non-cancerous, the tumor led to Elyna losing vision in her right eye and having no peripheral vision in her left eye.

Elyna, 9, lost vision in her right eye and peripheral vision in her left eye.

After surgery, she developed and was treated for adrenal insufficiency, in which adrenal glands don’t make enough cortisol, and diabetes insipidus, an uncommon disorder that causes an imbalance of fluids. Now 9, the Camanche fourth-grader loves reading and math and has been assistant coach for her soccer team.                                                                                              

In its 13th year, Kid Captain is a partnership between UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital and the Iowa Hawkeyes to honor pediatric patients and celebrate their inspirational stories. To learn more about Elyna’s story (including a video), click HERE.