The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us


8798 John Pappajohn Pavilion
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-9171

Release: June 3, 1999

Local youth is featured on Children’s Miracle Network

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Emergency medical personnel saw little chance for survival for eight-year-old Kaleb Stebens of Davenport after a truck with a drunken driver at the wheel slammed into his bicycle and dragged him for more than 50 feet.

His terror-stricken mother, Stephanie, took one look at Kaleb and thought, "There's no hope for him." The impact had ripped open the left side of his head, exposing his brain and leaving his ear dangling.

The gritty battle to save his life and his remarkable recovery will be recounted during the 17th annual Children's Miracle Network (CMN) "Weekend of Champions" that will air on four Iowa stations including WQAD-TV Channel 8 from 8 p.m. June 5 until 5 p.m. June 6. Portions of the 21-hour program will be telecast live from the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City. CMN has raised more than $8 million to support pediatric services at the Children's Hospital of Iowa at UI Hospitals and Clinics.

The national telecast is aired from Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., and features a host of celebrities including Marie Osmond and John Schneider. The Osmond family, Mick Shannon, Joe Lake and John Schneider launched CMN nationally in 1983; UI Hospitals and Clinics joined the program a year later.

All of the money raised locally goes to UI Hospitals and Clinics for equipment, research and items to make the children's stay more comfortable.

The Kaleb Stebens drama began about 8 p.m. on June 2, 1998. An emergency crew took him to the Genesis Medical Center East Campus where he was examined by surgeons David Arnold and Eugene Collins. Almost immediately they decided the only chance Kaleb had was to receive specialized treatment at UI Hospitals and Clinics.

An air care helicopter flew him to Iowa City where a trauma team headed by neurosurgeon Arnold Menezes stood by. "He had lost a significant part of the left side of his skull," Menezes said. "There was an opening in the covering of the brain and he had brains coming out of his skull. There was road debris, including rocks, right against the brain. Despite those massive injuries, I was confident we could save him."

In Menezes' opinion, Kaleb survived because of the instant availability of diagnostic procedures, getting him into the operating room right away and the presence of the diversified operating team.

Today, Kaleb is "doing real well," said his mother, herself a nurse. Looking at Kaleb, you'd never know he is the same youngster so near death a year ago.

The UI Hospitals and Clinics telecast features hosts Mike Kleinstub, WQAD-TV, Channel 8, Quad Cities; Mollie Cooney, KCCI-TV, Channel 8, Des Moines; Michele Hall and Brian Roche, KGAN-TV, Channel 2, Cedar Rapids; and Pete Hjelmstad and Amy Kuns, KIMT-TV, Channel 3, Mason City, asking viewers to call in pledges.

In addition to videotaped stories featuring children who received treatment at the Children's Hospital at UI Hospitals and Clinics, the telecast spotlights current young patients. It also portrays CMN sponsors manning telephone banks in the main studio where the hosts chat with volunteers and others who played a major role in raising money for CHI during the year.