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Iowa football fans have a touching new tradition with a nearby children's hospital

University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital overlooks the football stadium.

This year, the Iowa Hawkeyes have broken in one of their brand new traditions, and it’s a very special one indeed.

There is a hospital — University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital, to be specific — that overlooks the football stadium. The entire Hawkeye crowd now waves to the children’s hospital at the end of every first quarter. It’s really touching.

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How did this idea come about? It was actually floated around by an Iowa football fan Facebook page a few months ago, and the plan finally was put into action on Saturday.

Screenshot via Facebook

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz has a special connection with the hospital already. A few weeks ago, he and his wife donated a million dollars to the UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital to bolster research into helping premature babies:

The program is called the Savvy Ferentz Program in Neonatal Research and has a heart wrenching history. Savvy Ferentz was one of the Kirk and Mary’s grandchildren who sadly passed away after being born at just 21 weeks.

“We knew Savvy was born too early,” Mary said in a release. “We also knew they do extraordinary things at UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital that would give her a fighting chance. We were thankful we had that.”

Opponents now join in:

Even ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt recognized the new tradition after Week 1:

As a former premature baby myself, born a whole three months early and weighing 1 pound and 9 ounces, seeing Iowa do something like this is incredibly touching. Kudos to the program for coming up with a heartfelt new Iowa football tradition.