Kid Captain CC Hoover demonstrates strength and resilience

Described as quick-witted and fearless, Hoover is ready to see the Iowa-Iowa State football players tackle each other in the Cy-Hawk game.



Rachel Schilke, Senior Print Editor

CC Hoover, the second Kid Captain of the Iowa football season, used to hate the Hawkeyes, her mother Katie said.

“At first, she absolutely hated everybody and everything and every mention of the words, ‘Iowa,’ ‘Iowa City,’ ‘Hawkeyes,’” Katie said with a laugh. “We were watching a basketball game on TV, and the announcer said something like ‘the Iowa City Hawkeyes’ and she’s like, ‘Iowa City? No!’”

Now, thanks to the workers and doctors at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital, Katie said CC has grown to the point where she loves visiting the hospital from her home in Urbandale and does so with no complaints. She also loves the Hawkeyes.

Katie and Nic Hoover adopted CC from Nanxing, China, when she was 15 months old. Katie said they knew CC had multiple surgeries prior to the adoption, but they did not know, then, that CC would eventually be diagnosed with a neurogenic bladder — a condition she will have for the rest of her life.

A neurogenic bladder means that her bladder does not hold urine properly, said Gina Lockwood, pediatric urologist and CC’s primary doctor at UIHC. Lockwood said CC was one of her very first patients when she arrived at UIHC back in fall 2017.

She said CC has been through a lot over the past four years, going through five major surgeries in that time. One of her surgeries involved creating a channel with a catheter to drain her bladder, and another closing the connection to her urethra and her bladder.

“There have been harder times than others in the last four years. [CC]’s definitely had ups and downs, but over the last year and a half to two years, CC has been doing good,” Lockwood said. “She has not been getting infections and she’s been managing her own bladder, needing a lot less help. She’s grown a lot since I originally saw her.”

Both CC’s parents and Lockwood said that CC has grown exponentially in her independence and her confidence.

Nic said CC would fear going to the doctor because of the uncomfortable surgeries. Now, he said, CC is fine with it and does not get scared. This mentality transferred to their home, as well, whether it was cooking with her mom or wanting to make soup all by herself.

“You’re just a lot more independent, a lot braver, more outgoing,” Nic said to a smiling CC. “She’s always had this great sense of humor that a lot of people didn’t get to see, and now, more people are getting to see that.”

CC said when she’s not going to the doctor’s office, she likes to play with dinosaurs, play soccer with her brother, Matthew, 17, or cook with her mom.

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“I like to help my mommy cook dinner,” she said. “I love pasta, grilled cheese, tater tots, green beans, mac n’ cheese, and carrots. Oh yeah, and walking tacos. They have walking tacos at the school.”

She said while she isn’t afraid of surgeries anymore, she still hates getting shots. When asked what her favorite thing is about going to surgery, she answered in one word: “toys.”

When she grows up, she wants to be a teacher like her parents, “so I can tell people what to do.”

CC said she is getting excited for the Iowa-Iowa State football game on Saturday and cannot wait to see a tackle.

“I love it when the players attack each other,” CC said, laughing.

Over time, CC has grown “leaps and bounds,” Lockwood said.

“In her first surgery, she was very meek and she was very anxious, and she didn’t want anybody to touch her,” Lockwood said. “She never really talked to me when I came into the clinic. Now she has conversations with everyone.”

Lockwood said her favorite memory of CC was during the days after her first surgery. She couldn’t eat, but all she could say was she wanted Cheez-Its.

“It was hilarious, because her parents said that she was never really into Cheez-Its at home, but it was all that she could talk about in the hospital,” she said. “So I brought her a box of Cheez-Its, and she was so excited when she finally got to eat the Cheez-Its.”

She said CC represents what the UI is trying to promote — giving kids who have really significant medical conditions the ability to lead fun and normal lives.

“I think that she is a super strong little girl and if you’ve looked at her, you would never know all of the complexities that she has going on inside, because she is so strong willed and just a normal kid,” Lockwood said.

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