UI Hall of Famer’s plan to ‘Extend the Wave’
ORLANDO, Fl. (KWQC) - The ‘Hawkeye Wave’ inside Kinnick Stadium is arguably the most impactful tradition in college sports.
“I just feel the energy, I feel the love, I feel the hope. It comes through the television,” said Kimberly Stevens, a University of Iowa Hall of Famer. “I always blow kisses to the children and the families. So this is really, really special to be able to share with more people.”
Stevens is also a mother of a child who has spent years of her life inside of a hospital.
Stevens’ son passed away in the early 1990s from citrullinemia, an inherited disorder that causes ammonia and other toxic substances to build up in the blood. Two years later Stevens’ daughter was diagnosed with the same disorder.
“There were days when my daughter was in a coma, there were days when we didn’t expect her to live,” Stevens said. “Miraculously, we got through them.”
Against all odds, Stevens’ daughter, Victoria, is turning 30 this month. To honor the milestone, and spread hope to children in the hospital, Stevens is helping extend the wave to Advent Health for Children in her hometown of Orlando, Florida.
“When I think about our experience, and then I think about people going through that now, my heart just breaks,” Stevens said. “I know something as simple as the wave changes [their] day.”
Over the course of the week, Stevens estimates about 100 gifts are being given to kids and their families, ranging from t-shirts, stress balls, and gift cards to help with food expenses.
“Seeing the gratitude and just the joy on people’s faces that they were remembered, and that people were thinking of them and wanted to do something to change the trajectory of their day, changed my day,” Stevens said. “To change someone’s day slightly makes all the difference in the world when you are a parent or a child in the hospital.”
Stevens said she and her former Iowa teammates have a goal to “Extend the Wave’ to 10 different cities next year.
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