Hawkeyes name sophomore as kid captain at homecoming

Sophomore Andrew Morlan recently earned the kid captain title from the Iowa Hawkeyes after his heroic strides in his facing health issues.

Most kids at a young age are giggling and playing outside or even going on adventures, but things weren’t the same for sophomore Andrew Morlan as a child. Morlan was born without normal kidney function, and at just fourteen months old, his family made the decision to “better his life.” They decided that Karen Morlan, mother of Abbie, Isaac and Andrew Morlan, was going to donate one of her kidneys.

But just when they thought things were going to be good, things took a turn for the worst when Andrew developed a cancer called post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorders, which is a type of lymphoma that can be a result of both solid organ transplant and allogeneic bone marrow or stem cell transplants. It is also one of the most common post-transplant cancers. 

During the process of treating that cancer, his body started to reject his transplant kidney, but then on Aug. 1 of this year, he received his second kidney donated by his uncle Michael Amerhein. 

“The first several days are very painful, and I was very sore from the big incision they made on my side to place the kidney,” Morlan said. 

Morlan said his procedure was unique. “An odd thing that doesn’t happen all the time was that at first, my new kidney was slow to wake up. It took weeks for my new kidney to finally start working.”

After his procedure, Morlan was chosen to be a kid captain for the Iowa Hawkeyes. “I think I was chosen because I have had such a variety of health issues that required the attention of so many departments at the U of I’s Children’s Hospital, that they realized how much I have been through and that I would be a good representative of the hospital,” he said. 

As a kid captain, Morlan got to have a private party on the top floor that overlooks the football stadium, and on the hospital’s website, they have a feature page on his story that includes a video: watch at (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWAOuxL5RPA). He has posters and banners placed around the hospital and on light poles. 

Morlan has been invited to different interviews, speaking engagements and even dance marathon events where he accepts donation checks on behalf of the hospital. All of his family got tickets to the Iowa Hawkeyes homecoming game, and they even got to tailgate with the president of the University.

“I have more energy to be involved with more things. Everything’s just better,” Morlan said.

Morlan still has quite a few doctor appointments, but they are more routine check-ups now instead of dealing with the earlier major issues. 

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