At the end of the first quarter, you can witness one of the most heartwarming traditions of the Iowa Hawkeyes. Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz and Iowa Stead Children's Hospital explain the origins of the Kinnick wave.
- Hi. I'm Troy Hepker, a patient at the Children's Hospital.
- Hi. I'm Mason. I'm a patient here.
- I'm Daxon Fippin.
- Hi. I'm Haley.
- Hopefully, this is a tradition that'll last forever. I can't see any reason why it wouldn't.
NARRATOR: A simple gesture, a short moment. Something so small can mean so much.
- The power of having something that helps to take your mind off your illness or your child's illness.
NARRATOR: Across the street from Kinnick Stadium, just a two-minute walk through the massive yellow and black that tailgate and celebrate every Hawkeyes game day, sits the Iowa Stead Children's Hospital.
- Children come here for kind of the highest level care of needs that they have. So we see children with a lot of different chronic illnesses like cancer, heart disease, cystic fibrosis.
- George was born as a collodion baby, which is a rare skin disorder where the baby comes out and they're red, shiny, and they've got this membrane of skin covering them from head to toe.
- Troy, he was diagnosed with leukemia. He's basically on a 3 and 1/2 year plan. Most of it has been with chemo so far, and he'll continue with chemo for approximately another two years.
- Some of these kids have been here for months and they don't know if or when they're coming home.
- This is my second home. Since I was five days old, and I just turned 18 in, like, April. I've known these people since I was literally a baby and I've grown up with all of them. And they know everything about me and I know most everything about them.
NARRATOR: With children having such extensive stays, the staff developed a child life program for the patients and their families.
- We really try to focus on caring for children's developmental needs and their psychosocial needs. They need normal childhood experiences, normal socialization, and we try to assure that that can take place.
NARRATOR: Coach Kirk Ferentz and his program have been associated with the hospital for years. When it was announced a new structure was going up, the proximity to the stadium provided a unique opportunity to integrate the children and Iowa football.
- It was kind of, I had some inside information about what was going on, the way the hospital's structured, the concept of maybe looking down over the field.
- We started thinking about an event space that would overlook the stadium, where kids could come and have some special, like, tailgate activities on game day, and really kind of have that front row feeling of being there at the game.
NARRATOR: And the Press Box was born. Situated on the 12th floor, the space gives an impeccable view of the field. It was decided that was a perfect spot for the children and their families to go for every home game.
It's a chance for patients and their parents to forget they were sick, to escape reality for a few hours, and through football, get out of the hospital while still being within its walls.
- People started seeing talk of the wave on Facebook. It didn't take long before people were really excited about it and everybody was in place, I think, on game day to be ready.
NARRATOR: A beautiful idea born on social media. At the end of the first quarter, everyone in Kinnick, all 70,000 plus, would turn and wave to the hospital.
- What a simple concept, yet so powerful. Like a lot of the good things that happen in life, you know, they are pretty simple in their nature. But the power and the meaning of it is really significant.
AMY CONDON: Everyone up here had some tears in their eyes. It's like 70,000 people just turned around and were waving to us. They were all giving us that moment of, hey, we care about you, too.
STEVE HEPKER: Us as parents and our children who are going through this, how much we appreciate what all these people are doing by turning and waving and standing and cheering. You almost feel like one of the football players themselves.
- I may have teared up a little bit. Yeah, it was pretty awesome. I was with my family and everybody started blowing up my phone. It was like, hey, did you see this? And when they did it, I don't know. It's an indescribable feeling.
- Go Hawkeyes.
- Go Hawks.
- Go Hawks.
- Go Hawks.
- Go Hawkeyes.