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Little captain, big ambition

September 4, 2016
ADAM SODDERS , Reinbeck Courier

REINBECK - Having a severe blood disorder was always going to make life more difficult for 7-year-old Kinzie Hemann of Reinbeck, but she remains an active and happy kid.

In part because of her love of sports, Kinzie said she's excited to be the University of Iowa Children's Hospital Kid Captain for this Saturday's Iowa Hawkeyes season opener vs. Miami of Ohio.

"It's cool!" she said of the opportunity, and added she is looking forward to coming out of the tunnel and seeing the football field open up in front of her this weekend.

Article Photos

The Iowa Hawkeyes can expect a special appearance from University of Iowa Childrens Hospital Kid Captain Kinzie Hemann this Saturday. The 7-year-old doesn’t let her severe blood disease get in the way of having a fun, active life. She enjoys playing basketball and soccer, as well as playing with her dog, Herky.
Photo by Adam Sodders

Her father, Joshua Hemann, said it was discovered that Kinzie had von Willebrand disease Type 3 when she was a baby.

"(Kinzie's) blood is missing a protein that allows it to clot," Hemann said.

The missing protein is called von Willebrand factor, and von Willebrand disease Type 3 is the most severe of the disease's three main forms.

Kinzie's blood has trouble clotting as a result of the disease, and some serious symptoms include spontaneous and extended bleeding as well as excessive bruising. She is treated regularly to minimize these symptoms.

"She gets shots or an infusion, either through her veins or through a port in her chest," Hemann said. "We use (the infusion or shots), one or the other, every other day to prevent bleeding."

The infusion replaces the otherwise missing von Willebrand factor, and allows Kinzie to lead a more active life.

Kinzie doesn't let her health issues get in the way of staying active and having fun.

"I like all sports," she said. "I like playing soccer."

Kinzie's sister, Jayla, is also affected by von Willebrand disease, but has a more mild form. Jayla said her sister has serious soccer skill.

"You're really good at corner kicks," she told Kinzie, who smiled.

Kinzie said scoring goals was her favorite part of soccer.

"Once I made it into the goal just from the corner kick!" she said.

Right now, Kinzie sees herself playing sports when she grows up.

"I want to play soccer and basketball," she said.

Her other hobbies include reading, writing and playing in her physical education class at Gladbrook-Reinbeck.

Additionally, she is fan of the San Francisco 49ers and, of course, the Iowa Hawkeyes.

The children's hospital has been working with the university since 2009 to recognize child patients, and Kinzie will join 12 other children as Kid Captains over the course of the football season.

"We go to the University of Iowa Children's Hospital for annual visits and consult with them if there are any bleedings," Hemann said.

Down on the field Saturday, the Hemann four will be joined by staff from the children's hospital who have worked with Kinzie.

Hemann said he's happy his daughter gets to experience being a Kid Captain.

"She's pretty fortunate to have been chosen (as a Kid Captain)," he said of his daughter. "She's really looking forward to it."



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