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Jaelyn Butikofer
AGE: 7
HOMETOWN: Manchester, Iowa
GAME: Iowa vs Wyoming (9/2/17)

Jaelyn, of Manchester, Iowa, became a UI Stead Family Children's Hospital patient after her local physician referred her because she wasn't gaining weight. Now, geneticists at the UI are working to determine the cause of her disorder.

Your gift can support genetic research to help Jaelyn and other patients and families who are searching for answers. Gifts to the UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital help us provide care and find cures.

Flynn Lanferman
AGE: 12
HOMETOWN: Mount Pleasant, Iowa
GAME: Iowa vs Iowa State (9/9/17)

Flynn Lanferman has faced and beaten cancer—four times. And he’s only 12. For nine years, his care team at UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital has helped him fight, through chemotherapy, bone marrow transplants, a stem cell transplant, and so much more. But throughout his journey, Flynn has maintained a positive attitude. And he has advice for others facing a similar diagnosis: "Everything is going to be all right," says Flynn. "Be brave and battle this cancer until it’s gone."

Give today and help Flynn and other kids who are fighting life-altering illnesses. Gifts to UI Stead Family Children's Hospital help provide care and find cures.

Sam Spore
AGE: 15
HOMETOWN: Dysart, Iowa
GAME: Iowa vs North Texas (9/16/17)

Sam Spore was born in Uganda. But he is Hawkeye strong.

Born with spina bifida, fluid on the brain, and other complications, Sam has faced numerous physical and emotional challenges. His parents, Heidi and Chad Spore, of Dysart, Iowa, adopted Sam after a two-year process. Shortly after Sam's arrival in Iowa, they were referred to University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. Now, Sam undergoes regular physical and occupational therapy, has neurosurgery and urology check-ups, and sees pediatric blood disorder specialists. Through it all, Sam maintains his smile and infectious sense of humor.

"He is an incredible source of joy in our family," says Heidi. "He’s taught us there’s always a reason to laugh."

Give to UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital. Your donation will help us further crucial research, find treatments and cures, and provide the most advanced care—for Sam and for every child who needs us.

Drew Steffen
AGE: 10
HOMETOWN: Atkins, Iowa
GAME: Iowa vs Penn State (9/23/17)

Drew Steffen has defied the odds since birth.

Born with severe congenital heart disease that was initially undetected, he was transferred by AirCare to University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. Drew underwent three open-heart surgeries before the age of four and receives regular check-ups with his pediatric cardiologist. His journey with congenital heart disease will be lifelong, but Drew doesn’t let any challenges prevent him from staying active.

His message to other kids facing major illnesses is simple: "Just live life."

Please donate to UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital. Your gift will help us speed our research and provide the most advanced care—for Drew and for every child who needs us.

Camdyn Reisner
AGE: 11
HOMETOWN: Dubuque, Iowa
GAME: Iowa vs Michigan State (9/30/17)

Camdyn Reisner's life changed in an instant. She's exceeded expectations ever since.

At just 21 days old, Camdyn went for 57 minutes without oxygen as a result of supraventricular tachycardia—a type of heart rhythm disorder. She was airlifted to University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital and overcame a grim prognosis. A few days after returning home, her heart rate soared and she was again airlifted to Iowa City.

Camdyn wore a heart monitor for the first year of her life and took medications to regulate her heart rate. She counters developmental delays and involuntary muscle stiffness through weekly therapy and aspires to be a doctor someday.

"She loves to prove people that no matter what she's doing, she can do it just like anyone else," says Camdyn's mother, Mandy.

Please donate to UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital. Your gift will help us speed our research and provide the most advanced care—for Camdyn and for every child who needs us.

Maddox Smith
AGE: 9
HOMETOWN: Coralville, Iowa
GAME: Iowa vs Illinois (10/7/17)

Bravery comes naturally to Maddox Smith, who’s battled not one, but two rare conditions.

At age 5, spots started appearing on his skin and he was referred to University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital, which is home to Iowa’s only genetics team. Maddox was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis, a rare genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow on nerve cells. Currently, there’s no treatment or cure.

A few years later, he experienced severe headaches and was diagnosed with a life-threatening brain tumor. Since surgery to remove the tumor, Maddox has thrived and relayed an inspiring message to his parents: "I'm going to be brave, mom and dad. You be brave, too."

Please donate to UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital where your gift will help speed research to provide the most advanced care—for Maddox and for every child who needs us.

Hayden Wheatley
AGE: 3
HOMETOWN: Hamilton, Ill.
GAME: Iowa vs Northwestern (10/21/17)

Hayden Wheatley's battle started when she was 19 months old.

After surgery to remove a brain tumor at University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital, her heart rate plummeted and fluid accumulated in her lungs. Doctors started Hayden on a machine called ECMO, or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, which handled the work of her heart and lungs so they could heal.

Hayden came off ECMO at 36 hours—less than half the expected time—though doctors later discovered that the mass removed from her brain was a rare form of brain cancer. Treatment included four rounds of chemotherapy and 33 rounds of radiation. Due to the trauma Hayden's body endured, including a stroke, she now undergoes regular physical, occupational, speech, and developmental therapies.She also has MRI scans every three months to check for signs of her cancer returning.

UI Stead Family Children's Hospital offers advanced diagnosis and treatment options for children and young adults, including access to clinical trials. The hospital's Pediatric Brain Tumor Clinic—the first of its kind in Iowa and one of just a few in the United States—offers care for pediatric patients with brain tumors and helps manage problems related to injuries to their still-developing brains.

"We were a normal family one day and then every parent's worst nightmare the next," says Hayden's mother, Nicole. "If it weren't for the nurses, doctors, and surgeons, she wouldn't be here."

Please donate to UI Stead Family Children's Hospital where your gift will help speed research to provide the most advanced care—for Hayden and for every child who needs us. 

Leah McClain
AGE: 11
HOMETOWN: Pittsfield, Ill.
GAME: Iowa vs Minnesota (10/28/17)

At 7 years old, Leah McClain suffered a life-threatening seizure.

Two months later, after Leah endured another critical seizure, her parents sought more specialized care, and Leah’s pediatrician recommended University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.

Leah’s family met with a team of pediatric specialists there, and a 48-hour EEG (a test that measures brain waves) revealed Leah was experiencing constant seizures without detectable symptoms. Brain surgery became her best option.

After surgery and other tests, doctors revealed Leah had cortical dysplasia, an abnormality in brain development that occurs in utero.

Thankfully, donations help support the efforts of UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital attract and retain the best specialists and pursue new research to become one of the most experienced and comprehensive pediatric neurosurgery programs in the nation. Its pediatric neurosurgeons are recognized leaders in the field and experts at treating children with conditions affecting the brain, including the most complex pediatric neurosurgical cases.

Since surgery, Leah is back to her old self but experiences slight vision loss on her left side and takes medication to control any potential seizure activity.

"From the very beginning, we felt like Leah was the only patient here," says Leah’s father, Greg. "Everyone wanted to find out what was going on and provide the best care for her."

Please donate to UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital, where your gift will help our dedicated health care teams provide the most advanced care—for Leah and for every child who needs us.

Logan Manderfield
AGE: 13
HOMETOWN: Waucoma, Iowa
GAME: Iowa vs Ohio State (11/4/17)

Logan Manderfield can’t actively participate in sports, but that doesn’t deter his passion to compete.

At 16 months old, Logan was referred to University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital and diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD)—a rapidly progressive genetic disorder that causes muscles to weaken.

The Manderfields met with the pediatric neurology team at UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital, one of a select few hospitals in the nation named a Certified Duchenne Care Center, to discuss treatments for managing Logan’s symptoms. Due to muscle loss, Logan uses a wheelchair and undergoes physical therapy.

With no current cure for Duchenne, Logan participates in a clinical trial—making monthly two-hour trips to Iowa City for tests and an IV infusion—in hopes of finding a viable treatment and to help others with the condition.

Donations help the health care teams at UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital improve care and research cutting-edge treatments for muscular dystrophy patients.

"Without a doubt, we are at the best place we could possibly be," says Logan’s father, Don.

Cooper Foster
AGE: 10
HOMETOWN: Central City, Iowa
GAME: Iowa vs Wisconsin (11/11/17)

As a newborn, Cooper Foster was diagnosed with Hirschsprung’s disease—a rare condition that affects the large intestine and hinders the body’s ability to eliminate waste. Left untreated, it can lead to life-threatening infections.

He was transferred to University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital, home to the only team of pediatric surgeons in Iowa and western Illinois specifically trained to care for children.

Cooper improved after surgery, but his health worsened again around age 4. His stomach infections led to monthly hospitalizations and an enlarged small intestine. But after two more surgeries, Cooper’s quality of life has vastly improved.

"This hospital means so much to me, and the doctors here are very good at what they do," says Cooper.

Your gift helps support University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital, which specializes in pediatric surgery and offers expert diagnosis and care for children like Cooper. Please make a gift today.

Laurel Schaul
AGE: 11
HOMETOWN: Springville, Iowa
GAME: Iowa vs Purdue (11/18/17)

Fourteen months ago, Lauren Schaul fell and couldn’t move her legs.

A neurosurgeon at University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital discovered a hematoma, an abnormal collection of blood outside a blood vessel, on Laurel’s spinal cord.

Laurel’s surgery was successful, but doctors only gave her a 15 percent chance to walk again. Eight days later, Laurel defied the odds and has grown stronger since.

Please make a gift to University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital, home to one of the most experienced and comprehensive pediatric neurosurgery programs in the nation. Your gift will help children like Laurel receive advanced care and continue to defy odds.

"They go above and beyond any other hospital," says Laurel’s mother, Annette.

Landon Wilkerson
AGE: 7
HOMETOWN: Montezuma, Iowa
GAME: Iowa vs Nebraska (11/24/17)

Landon Wilkerson was born with only one kidney.

Near age 4, his kidney stopped working properly and he needed a transplant. The Wilkersons moved back to Iowa for care at University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital, home to one of the nation’s top pediatric nephrology teams.

The hospital’s pediatric nephrologists started Landon on dialysis to help him gain weight before he underwent a successful kidney transplant in November 2014. Today, he’s an energetic boy.

Please make a gift to University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital, home to the state’s most comprehensive kidney treatment program. Your gift will help children like Landon receive advanced care to live healthier lives.

“The care team here has been phenomenal and life-saving in so many ways,” says Landon’s mother, Charity.

Hunter Fasse
AGE: 10
HOMETOWN: Shell Rock, Iowa
GAME: Postseason

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