About the Iowa Wave ShirT 

On September 2, 2017, nearly 70,000 people stood together and waved for the first time to the children at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital (“UISFCH”). The day marked the beginning of a legacy that embodies altruism, hope and philanthropy - values intrinsic to the Hawkeye community.   Like so many, we were moved each time we saw The Wave and while simple, decided to create a shirt to celebrate it and raise money for the kids at the hospital.  

Hawkeye fans, friends of UISFCH and generous hearts across our country came together in a resounding manner.  During the first two seasons of The Wave, 47,000 people came together to purchase Iowa Wave Shirt merchandise and demonstrate that together, we can accomplish more and make a difference in the lives of the children that are treated at UISFCH.  Whether they were at Hawkeye football home games, sharing posts on social media, or wearing The Iowa Wave Shirt on vacation, the community stood to demonstrate that Iowa City Fights Together®.

During the second season of The Wave, our community of givers raised $500,000 for the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital (UISFCH). To date, the Iowa Wave Shirt has donated nearly $1 million to UISFCH.  Today, each person that wears an Iowa Wave Shirt supports enhanced care, new and innovative research at UISFCH through the Iowa Wave Shirt Pediatric Research Fund, the Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Center and care within the Child Life Program. 

Meet the families behind the Iowa Wave Shirt:

John Mickelson, a former Hawkeye football player who earned his MBA and JD at The University of Iowa, and his wife, Brooke, a University of Iowa graduate and former Miss Iowa USA, have a son who is currently treated at UISFCH. Hunter’s treatment began in 2015 as an infant when he was diagnosed with a life-threatening genetic condition, nephrogenic diabetes insipidus. The Mickelson’s, who have three older boys, spent two and a half weeks at UISFCH to stabilize Hunter’s then life-threatening condition. Hunter is now treated monthly by a UISFCH pediatric nephrologist. While his prognosis is excellent, his condition will demand continued care throughout his life. Hunter is also closely followed by the pediatric genetics team due to the rarity of his condition as well as a team of endocrine doctors for a non related thyroid issue. The Mickelson’s live in West Des Moines, where John serves as a city councilman.

When Cy Phillips, also a former Hawkeye football player and University of Iowa graduate, and his wife Meighan started dating during their freshman year at the University of Iowa, they had no idea they would ever utilize the medical resources of the University’s renowned children’s hospital. In the summer of 2016, that changed in an instant. The parents of four have a daughter, Genevieve, now 5, that was treated at UISFCH for a life-threatening acute illness in 2016 that developed after she contracted E.coli. Genevieve’s medical condition escalated when the infection developed into Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, and she was sent via ambulance to UISFCH when medical resources to fight her condition were not available in Des Moines. Genevieve made a full recovery, though the nephrology team in Iowa City will continue to follow her progress through her teen years.

Lifelong Hawkeye fans and avid children's charity supporters, Jason and Lori Willis, joined with the Mickelson and Phillips families in this joint effort to benefit UISFCH. Jason grew up in Des Moines and attended many Hawkeye games throughout his childhood. He has fond memories of hosting family tailgates outside of Kinnick and cheering the team onto many victories. As the parents of three young children, much of their philanthropic efforts are focused on care for children, though they continue their game day tradition frequently by bringing their children to Kinnick to cheer for the Hawkeyes.

Click here to learn more about Krista Young, the woman who started The Wave!