Cancer survivor experiences “The Wave” as a patient and inside the stadium

IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) – It’s been five years since the wave started. A tradition where fans take a moment during every home game to put football aside and let the young patients at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital know that people care about them.

Morgan Labelle was one of those patients. When she was 17, she learned she had B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Since then, she has been standing on both sides of the window in front of the wave as a patient and in the stadium.

“If you can have a special moment with thousands of people, but not face them, that’s really great,” Morgan said.

Now in remission, she says it’s something that has stuck with her and other patients since it started five years ago.

“I can just tell you how much it means to the kids and families in the hospital, and how much it means to the fans to wave to the kids,” Morgan said.

In the era of COVID-19 and the restrictions on visitors and other contact, Morgan knows firsthand how much more the wave must mean to current patients.

“In my head I know they are so happy to be doing the wave because during COVID there are no volunteers, no one to interact with them like those volunteers,” Morgan said. “So I know it’s a little break for these families to think about their diagnosis.”

What she saw in kindness and generosity also influenced her choice of study.

“I’m now a third-year student at the University of Iowa studying nursing and psychology with hopes of becoming a mental health nurse,” Morgan said.

The tradition that has positively influenced many started 5 years ago as a suggestion on social media.

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