Kid Captain Lucas Moore combines love of drumming and football with the Hawkeyes

Lucas Moore, an 8-year-old from Fort Dodge, will join the Hawkeyes for their game against Minnesota. Moore was diagnosed with DiGeorge Syndrome and has had multiple surgeries to help his speech.


Jerod Ringwald

Iowa kid captain Lucas Moore and family pose with head coach Kirk Ferentz during “Kid’s Day at Kinnick” inside Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 14.

Kelsey Harrell, Managing Digital Editor

The coming weekend will be filled with excitement for Kid Captain Lucas Moore. His fun-filled day will begin by meeting the Hawkeye Marching Band drumline, followed by an opportunity to be the center of attention at Kinnick Stadium, all while spending time with his family and enjoying football.

Lucas, an 8-year-old from Fort Dodge, will join the Hawkeyes for their game against Minnesota on Saturday — a game his parents specifically requested him to be Kid Captain for.

Nicholas Moore, Lucas’ father, said they wanted Lucas to be Kid Captain for the Minnesota game for two reasons. First, part of their family are Minnesota fans and second, Fort Dodge is near where the live Floyd of Rosedale pig was from.

Lucas was diagnosed with DiGeorge Syndrome when he was 2 years old. DiGeorge Syndrome — or 22q11.2 deletion — is a condition where the 22nd largest chromosome is missing a piece. It can cause immunodeficiency and other health problems. He got this diagnosis after coming to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital after a recommendation from his doctor in Fort Dodge.

Deborah Kacmarynski, director of the cleft and craniofacial team at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, met Lucas and knew he had a history of heart, breathing, and feeding issues. This gave her indication that he might have DiGeorge Syndrome, so she ordered a FISH test, a test that maps out genetic material in cells to detect abnormalities.

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Kacmarynski performed surgery on Lucas to correct his velopharyngeal insufficiency, meaning the hole connecting his nasal cavity to his throat doesn’t close enough when he’s speaking, by adding a pharyngeal flap.

Before the surgery, Lucas couldn’t say hard consonants like B, D, and P. After the surgery, he was speaking easily and clearly, Kacmarynski said. He had a second surgery in 2020 to correct the insufficiency further after he went through more speech therapy and they realized the opening in his mouth wasn’t closing enough, she added.

Kacmarynski said she will continue seeing Lucas into adulthood to make sure he doesn’t have other issues with his speech requiring additional surgeries.

“It’s interesting to see a kiddo grow through time,” she said. “I think that building a friendship with kids as they grow and mature is one of the really special parts of being here.”

Lisa Moore said Lucas’ DiGeorge Syndrome diagnosis was the final piece to the puzzle after he’d continued to get unexplained bacterial and viral infections.

When looking up DiGeorge Syndrome online, a long list of symptoms and problems is listed, but Lucas is only affected by a few of the conditions, Lisa said.

“Because they listened to all of our symptoms and conditions and everything they had, they ordered the correct test, we got the correct diagnosis, and now we’re able to preventively treat and help him thrive,” she said.

Lucas has many interests, including playing multiple sports and studying the stars, planets, and weather, Nicholas said. He also is an avid drummer and has performed at a Christmas concert with the local community college and for his classmates. Lucas has learned different beats and riffs to play on his drum set and takes lessons from a local percussion instructor, Nicholas said.

“He seems to be very gifted on the drumming scene as an 8-year-old,” Nicholas said. “It’s impressive to watch him sit down, listen to some recordings and start playing along.”

Nicholas and his wife Lisa originally bought the drums for Lucas as a way to reward him for doing homework, but he quickly excelled at playing them.

Saturday isn’t Lucas’ first Hawkeye game, but he’s looking forward to getting a picture with Herky and meeting the football players, Lisa said.

“What I’m looking forward to is him just enjoying the moment, enjoying his day,” Nicholas said.