Former Hawkeye Chad Greenway hopes to provide sliver of normalcy with Chad's Locker in Iowa City
IOWA CITY, Ia. — Since its creation in 2008, Chad Greenway has always continued searching for ways to grow his Lead the Way Foundation. It’s rooted in Minneapolis, where Greenway started with the Vikings for 10 seasons, but the charitable impact is spread throughout the Midwest.
Add Iowa City to the list.
Friday, Greenway debuted his eighth Chad’s Locker inside the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital. This wing of the former Hawkeye’s foundation provides pediatric patients and their families access to electronics — including iPads, portable DVD players, laptops and Xboxes — during hospital stays.
This is the first “Chad’s Locker” opened in Iowa and the fourth outside the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area. Others have been launched in Hudson, Wisconsin (Hudson Hospital and Clinics), Hutchinson, Minnesota (Hutchinson Health) and Sioux Falls, South Dakota (Sanford Children's Hospital).
Greenway starred at Iowa from 2002-05, and his wife Jenni was a former Hawkeye track-and-field athlete. Those personal connections, along with other factors, made Iowa City an easy destination choice.
“This one makes a lot of sense in so many ways,” Greenway said. “We’ve had a ton of great Hawkeyes who have become donors and have come to our golf tournaments, our events and taken part. So it makes sense to have something here, in more ways than just the fact that we went here.
"This building means a lot. Had my surgery on my knee here back in 2002, spent a lot of time in here visiting kids and stuff. I was at the Wyoming game last year when the (Hawkeye) Wave started.”
The Chad’s Locker premise is to serve as a source of entertainment, a portal for communication and a diversion during treatment and recovery.
During his various stops and hospital visits over the years, Greenway has observed how much of a family ordeal having a sick child can truly be. Chad’s Locker is there to provide a distraction for all those who may need it.
“What you come to find is it’s not just the kid going through the treatment, but also the siblings who are affected by all the stuff that’s going on,” Greenway said. “Having to come in here with them for appointments or if your brother or sister are in here for long periods of time, you’re involved with it.
“So to have a place to get away and be distracted is really nice.”
You could already see the excitement brewing Friday, with Madden on the TV, children pouring over movies and games, and families sporting wide smiles. In trying times, Greenway hopes he can provide a sliver of normalcy.
“You have so many times where people come and stop you on the street at training camp when I played, like, ‘Hey, our child was able to really benefit from your program’ or whatever,” Greenway said. “Just hearing that feedback when you make an impact, no matter how big or small, is important.”
Dargan Southard covers Iowa and UNI athletics, recruiting and preps for the Des Moines Register, HawkCentral.com and the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.