Iowa State players visit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital ahead of AutoZone Liberty Bowl


Emily Blobaum/Iowa State Daily

Liam, 3, fist bumps linebacker Jason Bowman (right) during a meet and greet at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee on Dec. 28.

Emily Barske

Powerful. That’s how Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell described visiting the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

More than 20 Iowa State football players toured the hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. The visit was part of the activities leading up to the AutoZone Liberty Bowl, where Iowa State will take on the Memphis Tigers on Dec. 30.

“Are they going to put their helmets on?” a 4-year-old patient asked his mom as he walked by the players, who towered over them, on their tour. 

On the tour, the team was told about the varying research projects and services the hospital provides some 8,000 children and their parents free of charge each year. After the tour, Campbell and the players signed autographs and talked to patients and their families. 

The patients — ranging from toddlers to teenagers — had the chance to give the players a fist bump, get an Iowa State Cyclones A to Z book signed, take a photo with the players and get a Cyclones jersey. Enemy lines were set aside, as even a Memphis Tigers fan made his way through the line. 

“Maybe on Saturday you can play with us?” said redshirt senior defensive end J.D. Waggoner to one of the kids walking through.

St. Jude was founded in Memphis in 1962 and is primarily funded by public contributions. Childhood cancer is one of the primary focuses of the hospital. Iowa State has a student organization that helps raise money for the organization called St. Jude Up ’til Dawn

The Iowa State players visit those in the hospital back in Ames as well. 

“Back home we always go to the Mary Greeley Center in Ames before we leave for the hotel and practice to give back to the community,” said Iowa State redshirt senior linebacker Joel Lanning at a press conference on Wednesday.