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Iowa Accepts Disney Spirit Award for “The Wave”


here to present the Disney spirit award
the vice president of Disney Sports Faron Kelly the Disney spirit award is given
annually to college football’s most inspirational figure now traditionally
this award has gone to an individual but this year a story came out that took us
in a different direction one of our company’s favorite Walt Disney quotes is
you can dream create design and build the most wonderful place in the world
but it requires people to make that dream a reality this year’s recipient is
all about the people in Iowa City who have made college football a little more
magical Tom Rinaldi has the story they came to the 12th floor for a
gesture or emotion or a sign but they received something
more a moment it’s almost like a wave of hope like you’re not in this on your own
it’s a salute to those kids and to their their parents in the family members it
just kind of brings it all home what is important it started September 2nd a new tradition were Iowa fans at the
end of the first quarter turn away from the field that can exceed him and wave
to those watching from across the street patients looking down from the sted
family Children’s Hospital one of the faces they might see in those windows
was dachshund Phippen 17 years old fighting to recover from cranial surgery
even during the whole surgery I was super calm I thought he’s gonna go in
he’s gonna come out and then he came out and he couldn’t dress he couldn’t get
out of bed he couldn’t use his hands and I had a lot of fear a few days later
with dachshund now conscious but his recovery slow he found motivation in
thinking of the view from those windows he was super discouraged that day and
then he looked out the window and he said at least Saturday’s coming and then
he just snapped right out of it being able to have that game to look forward
to all week that definitely helped with being able to make the days go by a
little bit faster and easier I guess you see the water iowa i WN in another
window fans might have seen four year old Sam Davidson and his mother Courtney
what they couldn’t see was Sam’s battle against a brain tumor and his cycles of
chemotherapy I don’t think he understands the word cancer and so we
haven’t really used that a whole lot the chemotherapy is for four or five days
and then we receive his stem cells and then we recover waiting for his blood
counts to come up and that’s four cycles of that but on a fall Saturday it isn’t
about radiation or IVs it’s about celebration and anticipation
for all that he’s endured and gone through Sam wanted to find a spot right
up front it was pretty cool Sam might not know it but he means more to Iowa ed
coach and he could ever imagine this is a tough subject for me nobody plans on a
visit to the kids hospital it’s just it’s it’s not something you schedule or
want to go through the Ference family has been through it in 2014 Kirk and
Mary ferrets lost their granddaughter Savi who was born prematurely at Iowa
Children’s at just over 21 weeks we knew it it was too early you try to stop
labor but they were unable to the savvy was born and she survived for two days
and to see my son and daughter-in-law in such pain and it couldn’t do anything
couldn’t do anything for it that was probably the lowest moment
this past summer Kirk and Mary made a million-dollar donation to the hospital
to create a program in neonatal research after talking with Savi’s mother Nikki
the family named the program in the baby’s honor the next couple of
questions Kirk are hard because they revolve around the origin of the
donation it’s been a couple of years and you know
they’ll always be an empty spot where Savi was supposed to be I mean she’s
very much a part of our family a part of our life and I think the best thing was
when I talked to Nikki she goes our biggest fear is that
Savi’s memory will dim and now it won’t so when 70000 turned away from the field
and toward the windows when they raised their arms and move their hands it’s a
moment and it means more than we know you see it and in the flood of people
looking back at you it was more emotional than anything realizing that
they were thinking about us to me it’s just such a nice way for 70 thousand
people to recognize some really special people the real heroes are up there
it’s more than just a wave it’s a lot more
it’s life-changing for all the patients here it is with great pride as I myself am a
native of the state of Iowa to present this year’s Disney spirit award to the
University of Iowa football program its fans and the stead family Children’s
Hospital coach Ference Josh Jackson and Kaden
Kelso Josh I’m gonna begin with you you’re absorbed in a game you’re
competing at the highest level these handful of Saturdays of what you get for
a year’s worth of work the first time the wave happened what went through your
mind you know it’s a really remarkable situation that is going on up there and
you know being able to you know play in front of the kids and just be a role
model of them and just give them inspiration and hope is really what
makes my Saturdays really great to play Kirk we we spoke in the fall we see your
emotion then and we see it now why well you know things just really been so neat
and so it’s unbelievable I think probably the best thing that’s really
organic you know they’re just the hospital opened up last last winter
right next to the stadium a mother of three Christa young and Anita Iowa came
up with the idea in May and this thing is just growing into an unbelievable
tradition so I think the best thing as a coach it just reminds all of us involved
in college football fortunate we are not special and the special people are
really people like this young man right here Caden their families the people all
the people that work to help them so much the nurses doctors everybody at the
hospital not only ours but children’s hospitals all over the world been a
great benefactor yourself and your wife Mary and others have now followed suit
since the tradition happened Caden Kelso a perspective that none of us can really
share you were being treated at Iowa Children’s for tumor and your lung how
long were you there um 17 days exactly when you were there
what was your fear I never really had the concept in my mind of dying so I
that wasn’t my fear my fear was just that like the surgery could go bad and I
could end up there for a little bit more longer than I
he was the first time you went to the windows on a Saturday what did you see I
just saw everybody up there appreciating us I’m looking at all the patients
around waving at us and it was amazing perhaps more amazing let people know
what news did you get after the surgery and I was cancer free and then Caden you had the opportunity
to do something remarkable to go from one side of the window to the other you
went to an Iowa game I could see even in your face right now what did the
experience mean at the end of the first quarter it was just it was just really
emotional being able to look back over there and his brains the wave and wave
back to the children what message were you sending them Kaden
but I hope you all recover from their surgeries in their illness I’m just
happy that they all chose me to represent them at stead family Children’s Hospital they
are watching us right now so if you would indulge us on behalf of
the four of us here we’re gonna swing the camera around and for everybody in
this hall tonight if you would raise your hand and give a wave there’ll be
more from the college football awards here at Atlanta when we return

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Comments
  • I lived in CR from 2015-17, and grew up just over the Illinois side when I was young. I've known people who have been life-flighted to Iowa City.

    There was never a greater day than when I pulled up to Iowa City and watched the first wave happen after that building opened to be an Iowan.

    …I think I'd like to retire in Iowa someday. Get a nice big farmhouse with some land and outbuildings. Snow don't bother me none. That's why they make Deeres in Davenport.

  • I have always been proud to be from Iowa City. It's my hometown and I loved growing up there. I was ridiculed mercilessly in the military for being from Iowa. But my pride never wavered. This moment is a good reason why.

  • Oh boy that is an amazing caring show of support. Three hanky moment. Wow. Thank you on behalf of my grandson a Lukemiua surviver from Strands Childrens Hospital in Gainsville, FL. We could'nt have done it without you.

  • No matter what team you route for. This wave is for those AMAZING kids. Never been more proud for my team. Go Hawkeyes

  • I've watched this countless times, I cry every time, but this was the first time that I noticed when the award was announced and Kirk, Josh Jackson, and Kaden Kelso went up to accept the award, everyone was standing. That is pretty special. Nine days until our first game and I can't wait to wave from my living room and watch everyone at Kinnick wave as well. It didn't matter if it was fans from the other team, EVERYONE waved including players, coaches, and referees. We treat kids from any state, not just Iowa, but we are incredibly proud of our hospital and all who work there. Hey, we're Iowa, and it's what we do.

  • Something I'd like to repeat, almost EVERYONE in Kinnick Stadium waves to the kids and their families. When we played Ohio State last year, both teams had players and coaches, the refs were all lined up, everyone was looking up to the 12th floor waving to these kids, NOT JUST the Iowa fans, EVERYONE, 70,000+!!!! These are kids fighting for their lives. They aren't all from Iowa or fans of Iowa, but they are getting the best medical treatment possible, and I am so PROUD of our University, our hospitals and clinics, the Stead Family Children's Hospital, and our athletes who go out of their way to visit kids in the hospital when they have free time. Many people don't know that about our athletes, and it's not just the football players, many of our athletes from all sports, both womens and mens visit these kids and their families. That brief time when those families see all of those arms waving, all of the faces looking up to them as they look down lets them feel free from their illness for awhile. I've been to the 12th floor, and you can see EVERY single seat in Kinnick Stadium from there, and the things they do for the kids on game day is awesome. There are snacks, games, you name it, it's a time to allow sick kids not to feel so sick. I'm from Iowa and I'm very proud of this amazing facility and all who work there, and thankful to Krista Young for coming up with the idea of "The wave".

  • This is what being an Iowan is all about. It’s not about the football wins or losses. It’s thinking about the kids who have won, lost, or are battling their own wars. The wave symbolizes a ray of hope in the stormy clouds for those children, and will forever be the best tradition in college football history.

  • One of the greatest things I have ever seen in College football, and I have been watching since the mid-1970's. Makes me want to go to a game.

  • I'm an Iowan transplanted to beautiful Colorado. I make sure everyone I see knows about the wave and remind them even the Rockies can't over shadow my beloved Hawkeyes. Well done, Folks, well done.

  • Gawd..these Kids..families..just want normal..just another day that they do not have to worry about life and death struggles..this is a great story about great people..

  • This is why whenever i get asked the question of "if u could live anywhere in the country where would u live?" People always say California cuz it's warm and pretty or Florida or somewhere on the coast but scenery or temperature doesn't make a place great to live, what makes a place great to live are the people that you are surrounded by so that's why when i hear that question i always answer it the same way….. "I've visited a lot of places both in and out of the country and seen some pretty sites but I'd stay right here in Iowa for one reason, we have the best people." Its a state filled with love and caring people…thats why we're the "heartland." Iowa 4 life baby!!!

  • When ferentz started crying I couldn't help it I lost my shit… Such a amazing person and coach!! God bless you all and Go Hawkeyes!!

  • omg how could anybody thumb this down? I can't wait to go home to Iowa City just to do this. There's nothing like it. Indescribable, the energy. 🙂 Love love love KF

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