Students grow from past impacts

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Jimmy McDermott, ’21, at a young age before he made his comeback, and now age 16 better than ever.



Imagine almost being at the point of death and making a comeback, a resurrection of sorts. Three Wahlert students did just that at a very young age.

For one Golden Eagle, a short ride on an ATV would change his life forever. Cal Kunnert, ‘20, was hurt in an ATV accident and spent a large portion of time at the Children’s Hospital in Iowa City.

“I was in a coma for 17 days. I broke my collarbone, all my ribs, and one snapped and punctured a hole in my lungs,” said Kunnert.

Kunnert is now an Iowa kid captain. He got to participate in an Iowa football game and was acknowledged in a parade.

Moments like these bring families closer together, and Jimmy McDermott, ‘21, has had a similar experience. He had cancer at a very young age but came back stronger than ever.

“My family was scared I was going to die. I didn’t really understand what was going on, but I was in pain,” said McDermott.

Katie Krapfl, ‘19, also struggled with cancer. Krapfl was diagnosed with leukemia. She did leukemia therapy for two years at the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital and then was cancer free from age 5.

“In my family, I think it has made us all a little bit stronger and brought us all closer together. Having an illness at a young age kind of forces you to get through the hard stuff and make it to the other side,” said Krapfl.

These three are prime examples that adversity can’t define you if you don’t let it.