An 11-year-old girl from Wapello will serve as Kid Captain when the Hawkeyes take the field against Wisconsin on Saturday.

Emeline Dunham is the daughter of Bill and Barb Dunham.

During an ultrasound, Emeline’s mom learned Emeline may have Down syndrome. The family was referred to University of Iowa Children’s Hospital, Iowa City, where more advanced ultrasounds confirmed the diagnosis. Emeline was also born with two heart defects, and spent a week in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Emeline has faced a number of health challenges: as a toddler, she was diagnosed with hypoparathyroidism, a condition in which the body doesn’t make enough of a certain hormone that regulates calcium and phosphorous in the blood. Six months later, she was diagnosed with Addison’s disease, a disorder in which the adrenal glands don’t produce enough hormones and one that, if left untreated, could be life-threatening. Three years later, she was diagnosed with stage 3 kidney disease.

Sign up for the Hawkmania Newsletter

Get our comprehensive Hawkeyes coverage delivered to your inbox

Emeline is known for her hugs and her loving nature. She enjoys helping to take care of the family’s animals and going on “daddy-daughter dates.” More information and a video about Emeline are available at

Now in its eighth year, the Kid Captain program is a partnership between UI Children's Hospital and the Iowa Hawkeyes to honor pediatric patients and celebrate their inspirational stories. For more information, visit