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Sports legend Dick Vitale visits patients at UI Children’s Hospital

IOWA CITY, Iowa (KWWL) – Basketball broadcasting and coaching great Dick Vitale toured the Stead Family Children’s Hospital Thursday, visiting with patients and seeing the award-winning facilities.

Vitale is also one of the key faces in the fight against cancer. His yearly Florida gala has raised over $29.5 million to find a cure. He’s also a big part of The V Foundation which has donated over $225 million in grants to beat cancer.

“I’ve met a lot of families who have youngsters battling that disease,” Vitale said. “It’s sad what these parents have to go through.”

“I’ve always wanted to thank him for everything that he does, and it was cool to be able to do that in person,” Dylan Schmidt said, who’s two years cancer-free after being diagnosed in 2016.

Vitale gave Dylan a signed basketball with the phrase, “Chase your dreams” on it.

“I think Dylan was going to chase his dreams anyway but just to know that someone like him takes the time to tell you that, and believes in you, that obviously has an impact on a person,” Dylan’s mom Julie Schmidt said.

On Tuesday, the University of Iowa hospital was recognized again nationally, this time for six of its specialty programs.

U.S. News & World Report’s 2019-20 Best Children’s Hospitals named the hospital 16th in the nation in neonatology (the care of newborn infants) and 21st in pediatric diabetes and endocrinology care. There were four other pediatric practices ranked in the top 50 as well.

While on the tour, Vitale also met new father Bill Grabe. Grabe’s wife had a baby boy on named William on Tuesday.

“Oh, ‘A Diaper Dandy!'” Vitale said.


Travis Breese

Reporter, Iowa City

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