At 4, Eli Belser of Elkader, Iowa, was treated for a rare bone disease, but his symptoms didn’t improve.
Specialists at University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital ultimately diagnosed Eli with cancer.
The hospital says he had difficulty eating and walking and was in constant pain.
An MRI revealed Eli had “Stage 4 neuroblastoma high risk,” a cancer that develops from immature nerve cells, typically in children age 5 and younger.
After several rounds of chemotherapy, surgery to remove tumors, stem cell harvest and transplants, radiation and immunotherapy, Eli — now 7 — has been in remission for two years as of May.
He’s in second grade and loves wrestling and fishing.
Kid Captain is in its 13th year, a partnership between the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital and the Iowa Hawkeyes to honor pediatric patients and celebrate their inspirational stories.