As Fresno State prepared to take the field in their season opener against Cincinnati, a tiny figure was escorted out to meet with the officials. Dressed for the occasion in Bulldog red, six-year-old Soren Jacobsen helped out with the coin toss and became Children's Hospital's very first Fresno State Football Kid Captain.
Just like the Bulldogs, Soren had a lot to celebrate. "Last time he was at a game he was three years old, right before he was diagnosed with his leukemia," said Tricia Jacobsen, Soren's mom. "Now he's six years old and thanks to the amazing care at Children's Hospital, he will be done on September 15, 2010 with ALL his medications. No more chemo! As his mother I am so grateful to have my healthy boy back."
Soren's a busy boy. He's also the 2010 Children's Hospital Radiothon Ambassador. "He loves the hospital and always wants to help," said Soren's dad, Tim. "He was telling me the other day, 'Dad, we need to be Change Bandits! We need to get money for the hospital.' He's so excited to be a part of helping out."
Soren had some help getting out on the field at the game. Accompanying Soren was Children's Hospital President and CEO Dr. Gordy Alexander and his wife, Lisa. The Alexanders arrived in Fresno this past summer from Minnesota, so this was their first Bulldogs game. "There's a great sense of community," said Dr. Alexander, "It's wonderful that the hospital has the opportunity to be part of that."
Children's Hospital will have Kid Captains at all Fresno State football home games this season. Like Soren, the kids will join the officials on the field for the coin toss at the start of each game.
As for the Bulldogs, Soren must have been a good luck charm. They won their season opener against the Big East Conference champion Bearcats while he and his family watched from the stands. For both Soren and the Dogs, it was a night to remember.