A little boy who was so sick he couldn’t get up was amazed when he saw a crowd of thousands wave up to him on Saturday.
The Hawkeyes, the Iowa college football team, newest tradition—thousands of Hawkeyes football fans at the Kinnick Stadium turned to wave at the little boy, Wyatt Hemphill, and other pediatric patients in University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital at the end of the first quarter.
The 4-year-old suffers from a rare immunodeficiency disorder and recently had a bone marrow transplant. The new tradition, started by a Hawkeyes fan, put a smile on Wyatt’s face.
In an emotional Facebook post, Wyatt’s mother Hillary said the moment brought tears to her eyes.
It was too painful for her son to get up so she especially moved his bed over to the window so he could watch the fan’s wave.
She expressed her gratitude to the thousands of fans in her post. “First time he actually smiled and giggled since we been here. This is such an amazing thing. He felt so special! Thank you everyone that waved! I had tears in my eyes. Even through everything he smiled,” she wrote.
The concept of “the wave” is the brainchild of a Hawkeyes fan, Levi Thompson, who created a Facebook fanpage called Hawkeye Heaven.
“I wanted it to be something the fans could accomplish without getting the university or any kind of money backing it. That’s when we thought about waving to the hospital after the end of the first quarter would be the perfect thing,” he told Hawkeye Nation.
Here’s a video that shows the view that Wyatt had from the hospital that overlooks the stadium.
“He is having a tough week this week,” Wyatt’s mother told KCRG. “Seeing everyone wave up to him made him feel so special. I could see in his face how tired he has gotten, and the wave brought light back in his eyes.”
Writing on the Hawkeye Heaven Facebook page back in June, fan Levi Thompson wrote, “Wouldn’t it be cool if we made it a tradition after the 1st quarter of every home game to have everyone in Kinnick wave to the kids and their families watching from The University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. Pass this on and let’s make it happen!”
The Hawkeyes are set to play Nittany Lions of Penn State at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 23.