Little Cyclone appreciates U of I hospital

Iowa State coach checks in with Kemper Kleiss after heart surgery

Look, it’s as much of a fact as say the earth is round and the sun rises in the east: There aren’t many, if any, bigger Iowa State University Cyclone fans than Dustin and Emily Kleiss and their children.

But these Cyclones do have an affinity for at least one thing Hawkeye, the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.

It’s where the Kleiss’ youngest child, 3 1/2-year-old Kemper, has had two open heart surgeries, including one earlier this month, to deal with a birth defect called tricuspid atresia with ASD and VSD  in which a valve between two of the heart’s chambers isn’t formed.

In short, little Kemper doesn’t get the oxygen she needs.

But this story isn’t just about Kemper and the Kleiss family; it’s also about the support they’ve received from near and far.

“I sent out a tweet, and then a few days later, [Iowa State football coach] Matt Campbell retweeted it,” Emily Kleiss said, “and all of a sudden my phone just blew up."

And that wasn’t all; a day later, a box arrived in the mail from the Iowa State football team, filled with lots of, as Kemper’s mom put it, “Cyclone swag.”

— For more on this story, see the Oct. 27 Tribune

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