The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Perky cheers kids on at Dance Marathon

Perky, Herky’s cousin, came to Dance Marathon’s Big Event to cheer kids on.
Perky, the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital mascot stands in front of the audience during Dance Marathon 24 at the Iowa Memorial Union on Friday, Jan. 28, 2018. Dance Marathon raises money for pediatric cancer research. (Katina Zentz/The Daily Iowan)

Brooklyn Draisey

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Everyone knows the University of Iowa’s favorite mascot, Herky, but there’s another moscot who’s a little softer.

Perky is the official mascot of the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital and Herky’s cousin, created to be a more gentle version of Herky. The Children’s Hospital Youth Advisory Council came up with the idea for a counterpart to the football mascot, who can often be seen as aggressive, which can scare children.

“Perky is a little happier, a little lighter… definitely better for the children’s hospital, especially for the little kids,” senior Dancer Nicole Amato said.

Cannon Townsend, a boy with the Townsend family, was quite startled when he saw Herky. He came around the corner where Cannon was standing, and his father, Tony, made sure he was alright while Herky waved. Tony said his children tend to gravitate more towards Perky than Herky because of her more comforting appearance.

“Perky’s a little more caring, appearance-wise,” Tony said. “I just think they associate Herky with the football team, so it’s a little more masculine. Perky’s a little more loving.”

The Townsend family has participated in the Dance Marathon Big Event for five years and is well acquainted with Perky. Cannon’s big sister Aubrey shyly said she really liked Perky, and Tony said she’s a big fan.

“I like that she gives high fives, also that she likes to give hugs,” Aubrey said.

Perky came on stage at the Big Event’s opening kick-off to greet the families, give hugs, and cheer the kids on with a happy smile. She greeted kids throughout the night on the third floor rooms decked out for fun and will be at the hospital tomorrow to play with the children who can’t make it over to the IMU.

Perky is a presence in the hospital all throughout the year. She comes to the different floors to meet kids and play and is generally a mascot for kids who need a little bit of cheering up.

“[Perky’s] almost like the face of the hospital,” Amato said. “Most kids like big, furry things … having a friendly face is a big perk of having Perky.” 

Click below for more photos.

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