Young Cancer Survivor Gets Ready to Be Kid Captain of CyHawk Game

POLK CITY, IOWA-- One Polk City six year-old will play a big role in the CyHawk game Saturday.

Harper Stribe is suiting up for a fight on the football field. She said, "I get to walk on the field with one of the players."

She'll serve as the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital's kid captain for Saturday's showdown against the Hawkeyes and Cyclones. She's already tackled a battle of her own. "My cheek was really big, and I needed to go to the doctor to see what it was," said Harper.

That was in June of last year. Doctors eventually diagnosed her with embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma of her cheek area. She went through more than forty weeks of chemotherapy and had radiation.

On Saturday, she'll take the field in front of thousands of fans. She won't be alone. "They are my friends, my two best friends," she said while showing two buttons attached to her jersey.

One features a picture of a little girl named Emery Thompson "I met her in the toy room at the hospital and she kept running away with her long cord hooked to her,” said Harper.

The other has a picture of Garrett Matthias. "I met him in the hospital too," said Harper.

Both died this year. "We thought it was important to showcase not every kid has the great result Harper did," said Mom Nicole Stribe.

"Remember the kiddos that weren't so lucky and we don't want to forget because these were some great kids," she added.

Harper is considered cancer free, and she has a message for those still fighting. "I hope everyone gets feeling well soon,” she said.

This will be Harper's second Hawkeye football game. She went to last week's game with her dad to get an idea of what to expect.

The Kid Captain program started in 2009 to honor pediatric patients and share their inspiring stories.