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Big Ten Announces 2020 Big Ten Football Championship Game Virtual Honorary Kid Captains

by | Dec 18, 2020 | Football Blogs, Headlines | 0 comments

Big Ten Announces 2020 Big Ten Football Championship Game Virtual Honorary Kid Captains

Four patients from Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at Ascension St. Vincent Hospital selected as second annual honorary captains for game


ROSEMONT, Ill. – Four patients from Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at Ascension St. Vincent Hospital have been selected as the second annual Honorary Kid Captains for the Big Ten Football Championship Game, the conference announced Friday. Jolie Caralan, Maximus Grau, Elsa Ham and CJ Harris were chosen by the children’s hospital’s care team to serve as the virtual honorary captains for Northwestern and Ohio State. Max and Elsa will assist as captains for the Wildcats, while CJ and Jolie aid the Buckeyes.


Each Honorary Kid Captain will receive a Big Ten gift bag and will be featured on the video board during the game.


Jolie Caralan was born with congenital scoliosis caused by hemivertebra, two extra vertebrae in her spine, which caused her spine to curve. Her condition, which affects about 1 in 10,000 newborns, also caused issues with her heart and kidneys. She had multiple holes in her heart which were corrected by open heart surgery when she was just 13 weeks old. After several years of antibiotics and checkups, Jolie’s heart is 100% healed and she was released from kidney care. Jolie’s scoliosis, however, is a progressive issue and her curvature has advanced much since birth. In May 2019, Jolie had two spinal fusion surgeries. After 11 years of checkups, X-rays and prayers, Dr. Joseph Bellflower operated and corrected her curvature. He removed her extra vertebrae, as well as a few ribs to correct her “bump” and she even grew four inches during surgery. Both of her lungs are now able to fully expand, and she is gaining weight. Best of all, she has a whole new level of confidence. Jolie was selected for her strength, bravery, big heart and being able to accomplish anything she puts her mind to.


Maximus “Mighty Max” Grau is nine years old and is in the third grade in Sheridan, Indiana. When he was just days old, he was diagnosed with prune belly syndrome and underwent his first surgery. Over the next few years, Max was hospitalized several times for infections or dehydration and experienced Stage 4 kidney failure. His mother, Jamie Grau, donated her kidney to him on June 25, 2018 – a day she will always remember. An Ascension St. Vincent associate, she feels blessed and grateful for this opportunity. In February 2020, Max had his remaining kidney removed and his family looks forward to many new beginnings in the days to come. He was selected for this opportunity because of his strong, adaptable and endearing nature.


Elsa Ham developed acute onset of left sided weakness, vomiting, lethargy and fever on February 15, 2019. A head CT showed acute hemorrhage in her right thalamus. She was intubated due to declining mental status and was airlifted to Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at Ascension St. Vincent Hospital for emergency surgery performed by Dr. Jodi Smith. Pathology showed she had a low-grade glioma consistent with pilocytic astrocytoma. She was in the hospital for almost two months as she required inpatient therapies to try to regain some of the neurologic function she lost. Repeat imaging after she came home from the hospital showed the tumor increased in size, so Elsa began outpatient chemotherapy approximately once a week for 14 months. Elsa had her last chemotherapy treatment in oncology clinic on November 13, and she rang the bell signaling the end of treatment. She continues in outpatient occupational and physical therapies at Ascension St. Vincent Fishers and has made great progress. Elsa was selected for her strength and bravery, perseverance in the most challenging of times, and ability to bring a smile to the face of everyone that she meets.


CJ Harris woke up one morning in November 2016 and knew something was wrong. When his mother brought him to the Emergency Room, doctors found that he had pneumonia, one of his lungs had collapsed, and he also had a high fever. CJ was quickly moved to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at Ascension St. Vincent Hospital. CJ remembers the doctors and nurses bringing him LEGO bricks and puzzles to make him feel more comfortable. His favorite memory of his experience was when his ER nurse came to visit him in the PICU, which made him feel more at home during his stay. Because of the toys that CJ received during his stay, he decided to fundraise and has purchased various toys for the patients at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at Ascension St. Vincent Hospital. CJ was selected for his philanthropic spirit and continued dedication to giving back and making a difference for other kids.


Northwestern and Ohio State will meet in the 2020 Big Ten Football Championship Game at noon ET on Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. For more information, visit bigten.org/fcg.


About Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at Ascension St. Vincent Hospital

Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at Ascension St. Vincent (PMCH) is a full service, dedicated children’s medical center, providing the highest quality, family-centered care to children and adolescents in the state of Indiana and beyond. PMCH has more than 160 licensed beds, which includes a 23-bed pediatric intensive care unit, 17-bed Pediatric Emergency Department and a 97-bed Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) – the largest Level IV NICU in Indiana, providing the highest level of acute care, as established by the American Academy of Pediatrics. PMCH treats patients from all over the state, providing safe and streamlined critical care transport by ambulance and air. The hospital offers 24-hour on-site coverage by pediatric hospitalists, intensivists, neonatologists, and board-certified emergency physicians. PMCH is staffed by more than 100 experienced pediatric sub-specialists along with pediatric nurses, social workers, child life specialists, chaplains, and other health professionals with a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach to family-focused care. PMCH is part of Ascension, one of the nation’s leading non-profit and Catholic health systems. Visit www.peytonmanningch.org.


About the Big Ten Conference

The Big Ten Conference (bigten.org) is an association of world-class universities whose member institutions share a common mission of research, graduate, professional and undergraduate teaching and public service. Founded in 1896, the Big Ten has sustained a comprehensive set of shared practices and policies that enforce the priority of academics in the lives of students competing in intercollegiate athletics and emphasize the values of integrity, fairness and competitiveness. The broad-based programs of the 14 Big Ten institutions will provide over $200 million in direct financial support to more than 9,800 students for more than 11,000 participation opportunities on 350 teams in 42 different sports. The Big Ten sponsors 28 official conference sports, 14 for men and 14 for women, including the addition of men’s ice hockey and men’s and women’s lacrosse since 2013. For more information, visit www.bigten.org.