Guest Opinion | Iowa City: The City of Hope

University of Iowa undergraduate, Megan Kurth, on Make-A-Wish in Iowa City.


Iowa City is home to the Iowa Hawkeyes, creators of vibrant art, and a prestigious healthcare system that sets itself apart from other cities. The city boundaries hold business owners, community leaders, students, university faculty, health care workers, artists, nonprofits, and everyone in between.

It is a diverse community that continues to grow and thrive. Also living within the city limits is a Make-A-Wish microcosm like no other. The Make-A-Wish Iowa mission has indefinitely planted roots in Iowa City and blossomed into a culture of care for children fighting critical illnesses.

Iowa City is home to the Stead Family Children’s Hospital, which is listed among the nation’s best in seven different specialties. They serve hundreds of medically vulnerable children each day and work diligently to provide the best care possible. Medical providers are on the front line in educating and working with families to provide the impact of a wish to a child.

Through the granting of a once-in-a-lifetime wish, it is the prescription of hope that assists the child and family through this critical time in their lives. This organization has a goal of reaching every medically eligible child in that hospital and throughout Iowa. In a recent Make-A-Wish America impact study, 91 percent of wish parents believe that the wish experience gave their child a better chance at surviving.

Our support goes beyond the four walls of the Stead Family Children’s Hospital to travel all over the city.

Hawkeye Football is not outside the range of the Make-A-Wish Impact. As our beloved Hawkeyes prepare for battle in the locker rooms, one brave little soldier takes the field first: The Hawkeye Kid Captain.

This fan-favorite program has been a long-time tradition at Kinnick Stadium. Almost half the 2022 Kid Captains had reached the finish line of their treatment and previously received a wish from Make-A-Wish Iowa. The first-quarter Hawkeye wave is another tradition at Kinnick stadium that has captured hearts across the country.

Next time you are in the stadium, waving to the hopeful faces in the windows of the children’s hospital, know that you are waving to wish kiddos’ and sending them love during their hardest of times.

The impact of a wish has a way of sneaking onto the University of Iowa campus as well. There are current students attending classes, who have received tuition wishes. After surviving the worst, they invested their wish into their future to attend the UI. They know better than anyone to not take this time for granted.

Not only are there wish alumni walking around on campus, but many volunteers and supporters as well. The Iowa Chi Omega Women’s Fraternity has supported the organization for 20 years by holding fundraisers, volunteering their time, and promoting the mission to their peers.

This thriving community of supporters extends to the small businesses in the Iowa City area. Many have contributed to the Make-A-Wish mission with more than just monetary donations.

This month, Mickey’s Irish Pub sold bright royal blue sweatshirts with the Make-A-Wish logo on the back announcing they were proud supporters of the organization. Mickeys then donated 100 percent of the proceeds from the sweatshirts to the mission of granting wishes in Iowa. The bright blue hoodies have taken over campus and the streets of Iowa City.

While Iowa City is known for so many reasons, the blue and white colors of Make-A-Wish are woven into the fabric of the entire community.

Iowa City is the city of hope and joy, and I am so incredibly proud to be a part of a community that brings the power of a wish when a child needs it the most.

  • Megan Kurth, University of Iowa Undergraduate Student

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.