Iowa Hawkeyes fans began a heart-warming new tradition on Sept. 2 by standing to wave at the children who are watching from University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital. Zack Creglow
Kaden Kelso has been wondering what it would be like to be doing the Hawkeye Wave from inside Kinnick Stadium.
On Saturday against Minnesota, the Newton 12-year-old was able to find out.
Kelso was one of the University of Iowa Children's Hospital patients Hawk Central featured in September, when the Hawkeye Wave first started. He developed lung cancer and recently had surgery performed to remove a tumor.
“Kaden’s strength is really amazing," Kelso's mother, Mindi Noel, told Hawk Central. "He wants to be healthy, he wants to play football, he wants to get this behind him. And there’s only one way to do that.”
Kelso is now living cancer-free. He was released from the hospital on Sept. 25, the Newton Daily News reported.
In an emotional 6-minute, 17-second video published Tuesday by the Big Ten Network, Kelso is seen waving to those he was once surrounded by. He told BTN how excited he was to be sitting inside the stadium.
"I just can't wait for the wave," Kelso says in the video.
You can watch the full video here.
Kaden said it was also his first game seeing Iowa wide receiver Nick Easley play. Another Newton native, Easley has developed a special bond with Kelso. The two first met while Kaden was still in the hospital.
"He had just gotten out of surgery. He was in a lot of pain. I just wanted to get over there and see him," Easley told BTN. "I just wanted to let him know that he's an inspiration to me and an inspiration to all of us.
"Going through something like that is a lot tougher than football."
Iowa defeated Minnesota 17-10. The Hawkeyes welcome No. 3 Ohio State for a 2:30 p.m. matchup Saturday in Iowa City.