Kid Captain: One-year-old Brynn Bowman healthy after tumor removal


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Twenty weeks.

Twenty weeks into the pregnancy, with 20 weeks left, Leann and Jarod Bowman arrived at the doctor’s office in Marion for a routine ultrasound checkup. But this time, the images reflected weren’t what the doctors wanted to see.

“You go to a normal ultrasound place, and they can’t tell you if they see anything,” Leann Bowman said. “It was kind of scary to see the doctors weren’t 100 percent sure at first what it was.”

Soon, they were given the devastating news that their child had a tumor at the base of her spine — and yet, there was still hope.

The tumor was classified as sacrococcygeal teratoma — typically not cancerous but still potentially life-threatening. The Bowmans were faced with the choice of continuing with the pregnancy or terminating it.

“[The doctors] did ask us if we wanted to follow through with the pregnancy,” Leann Bowman said. “My husband and I both don’t believe in that; it was never even a consideration.”

After the birth of Brynn, the longer the Bowmans waited to remove the tumor, the higher the chance the tumor would become cancerous. She was born two months early because of complications — the tumor reached two and a half pounds. Fortunately, the tumor was successfully removed.

Brynn is now 22 months old and is a healthy baby.

“She’s doing great; she has no problems with running and walking and speech use,” Bowman said. “I feel like I was picked to do this; it takes a great parent to have a child with special needs.”

Although there is a chance the tumor could return anytime in the next seven years, Brynn and the Bowman family remain optimistic.

“She’s a fighter now, at the doctor’s office today she had to get blood drawn, and it took four doctors to hold her down,” Bowman said. “For a 27-pound girl, that’s pretty good.”

Bowman nominated Brynn to be a Kid Captain, a contest run by the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital to choose an honorary captain for a Hawkeye football game.

Brynn was one of the 12 children chosen out of 403 applicants. She will be the Kid Captain for this Saturday’s game at Michigan State University.

“[The UI Children’s Hospital] just sent me information in the mail, and I signed her up,” Bowman said. “I know she’s young, and she won’t remember it, but she has a great story.”

Jarod Bowman believes she is an inspiration to all and can teach the Hawkeyes a thing or two.

“She’s got a ton of heart; nothing’s going to hold her down,” he said. “I can’t think of a better way of a football team to be represented.”

Children can still apply to become Kid Captains regardless of their age and even if they no longer have an illness.

“Part of it being a children’s hospital is we’re trying to keep the children healthy and safe,” said Cheryl Hodgson, the manager of marketing services at UI Health Care. “In Brynn’s case she is doing wonderful and will go through ongoing follow up care.”

Bowman said Brynn differs from most of the Kid Captains, as she is currently healthy.

“Hopefully, her story ended after her surgery,” Leann Bowman said. “A lot of the kids’ stories are about them having sickness later in life. Her story was about getting there.”

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