Twelve current and former University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital patients are ready to kick off the college football season as the Kid Captain program returns this fall.  

This year marks the 13th season of the Kid Captain program, which started in 2009 as a partnership between UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital and the Iowa Hawkeyes to honor pediatric patients and celebrate their incredible stories. This year’s Kid Captains were selected from 288 nominations from four states. 

“We are so excited to share these incredible stories of strength and courage,” says Pam Johnson-Carlson, chief administrative officer of UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital. “These kids and their families represent everything we do and everyone we do it for. They have such fierce determination and an undeniable strength of spirit. It is an honor and a privilege to be able to care for them all on their health care journey. We congratulate all of them on their selection to this year’s Kid Captain team.” 

This year’s Kid Captains are: 

  • Adam Arp, 15, Williamsburg, Iowa 
  • Eli Belser, 7, Elkader, Iowa 
  • Elyna Clements, 9, Camanche, Iowa 
  • Cormac Faley, 12, Asbury, Iowa 
  • Eve Jimenez, 8, Davenport, Iowa 
  • Tate Manahl, 8, Cedar Falls, Iowa 
  • Dylan McGivern, 10, Dysart, Iowa 
  • Carver Meiners, 8, Polk City, Iowa 
  • Gavin Miller, 13, Ogden, Iowa 
  • Anjali Sahu, 6, Atkins, Iowa 
  • Audrey Schneller, 7, Waukee, Iowa 
  • Veronica Sullivan, 7, Marion, Iowa 

Eve Jimenez will be the Kid Captain for the Iowa vs. Nevada game on September 17. She became seriously ill when she was four years old and was unable to walk or talk. She was referred to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital, where she was diagnosed with Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis, or ADEM, a rare disorder that causes swelling in the brain and spinal cord, and occasionally in the optic nerves. While ADEM usually only occurs once, she was life flighted back to Iowa City four years later with multi-phasic ADEM.

Elyna Clements will be the Kid Captain for the Iowa vs. Northwestern game on October 29. She was referred to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital after a local optometrist discovered a possible mass behind her eye that was confirmed by an MRI at a local hospital. She has immediate surgery to insert a drain in her brain to reduce pressure and the next day underwent a nine hour surgery to have the tumor removed. The tumor caused her to lose sight in her right eye and have no peripheral vision in her left eye. After the surgery she developed adrenal insufficiency and diabetes insipidus.

All Kid Captains and their families will be invited to Kids Day at Kinnick Stadium on August 13 for a special behind-the-scenes tour. Each child’s story will be highlighted during the football season. 

Click here for more information on each Kid Captain.