Local high schooler to be recognized at Saturday’s U of I football game

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DAVENPORT, Iowa-- The University of Iowa is celebrating a milestone Saturday during the Hawkeye-Maryland football game. But it's not about the players on the field.

It's the tenth year of the Kid Captain program. At every home game, a patient at the University of Iowa Children's Hospital gets to be an honorary captain.

One of the Quad Cities' own will be joining over a hundred other families for the ten year anniversary.

"It's definitely going to be a moment in Iowa football history that's going to be special, and it's going to be special for all the kids down on the field just looking up at the crowd and being supported," says Parker Kress, who was a kid captain in 2016.

Kress was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, a type of childhood bone cancer, in 2014. He would eventually have his right leg amputated after an infection. Kress and his mom say support from here in the Quad Cities and from the University of Iowa got them through it all.

"Really this has gone above and beyond anything we could've imagined," says Kristin Dumser, Parker's mom. "Without the community, we couldn't have done it. They made all the difference in the world."

Parker ended chemo in 2015, and he's now a junior at Pleasant Valley High School.

He goes back to the Children's Hosptial for regular check-ups every three months.

On Saturday, he'll join over 100 other families on the field at Kinnick Stadium during halftime.

"You get to know each other, and you hear their stories and how similar and different they are from each other," Kress says. "At the end of the day, we're going through something similar, and we just want to be here for each other and help each other, even if it's in a small way."

But his mom knows how lucky they are to make it to this point.

"There's families there who have lost children, and just the parents will be there to represent their children," she says. "We have Parker there, and I'm grateful he gets to be there and be a part of it. And it kind of shows the parents of the children who aren't there that we're still a community. We still support each other, and we're one big family."

Dumser says they're looking forward to another milestone of their own here in the next few months. If all continues to go well, Parker will get to have more time between check-ups, driving to the University of Iowa Children's Hospital every six months.

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