This weekend the Iowa Hawkeyes will take on Purdue for the 2019 Homecoming Game, but that's not the only reason this game will be memorable. The Hawkeyes will be joined by 10-year-old Mount Vernon resident Kendra Hines, as she takes on the role of 'Kid Captain!'

According to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital website, Kendra had a little bit of a complicated start to her life. Teresa Hines, her mother, found out during her 18th week of pregnancy that her blood tests were positive for Down Syndrome. Kendra was born seven weeks early, and they very quickly discovered that she had some trouble breathing. One night after she was brought home, she stopped breathing completely, which prompted her parents to call an ambulance and take her to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital. It's there that she was diagnosed with laryngomalacia, subglottic stenosis, and stridor. Her dad Mickey explained, “You can't breathe because you have too much skin in your throat, and it causes your throat to collapse.”

Kendra underwent surgery that widened her airway so she could breathe normally, but she was recently diagnosed with another condition called tracheomalacia. It's described as, "a rare condition in which the cartilage of the windpipe, or trachea, is soft and floppy." Her airway can collapse when she coughs, breathes, or eats.

Despite these complications, Kendra's parents say she has a "heart of gold" and is "highly functional." She loves hugs, volleyball, dancing, Iowa-native Maddie Poppe, and cheering on the Hawkeyes! Here's the full version of Kendra and her family's story:

Be on the lookout for Kendra at this Saturday's game at Kinnick!

Check out a full list of this year's 'Kid Captains' for the Iowa Hawkeyes HERE.

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