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Cheering the Chiefs a family tradition for this NICU girl dad

Like father, like daughter, or so hopes Connor Sinclair, a die-hard Chiefs fan for all of his 30 years.

“My dad is a big Chiefs fan, so I am, too,” says the Wichita native, who is excited to carry on the tradition with his wife, Kristen, and daughter, Blakely, who has been in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Ascension Via Christi St. Joseph since her early arrival just over a month ago.

On Super Bowl Sunday, Blakely was sporting one of the three Chiefs onesies sent by Connor’s college roommate when he heard they were expecting. 

Additionally, she was wearing a Mahomes headband crafted by NICU nurse Barbara Dodd for babies in the unit while sleeping comfortably in a layette adorned with Chiefs-themed decorations also made by NICU staff.

"We wanted our NICU families to have some of the 'normalcy' they find lacking when they have a premature or ill newborn in the hospital," says Cathy Bitter, RN, who has served in the unit for 32 years. "It's typically a journey that's not what parents imagined, but one we try to make as comfortable as possible."

While Connor spends most of the weekend in the NICU to give Kristen a break, he decided not to watch the Super Bowl from there, noting in a pre-game interview that “I’d probably be waaaay too loud for this place.”

Instead, he watched the Chiefs win their first Super Bowl in 50 years from the same chair with the same group of friends he has followed his beloved team with all season.

“It's great that the Chiefs were able to win the Super Bowl and bring the Lombardi trophy back to Kansas City and to celebrate that with Blakely,” says Connor, who was dressed head-to-toe in Chiefs gear on game day, just as the Cargill transportation manager has been on “Red Friday" the entire season. "It was very surreal."

As for next year, he’s excited by the prospect of having Blakely home, healthy and able to carry on the family tradition of cheering on the Chiefs.

“We're eager for her to be able to take a full feeding so we can go home, but we know she's in the right place," says Connor. "The doctors and nurses caring for her have been so uplifting and positive and kept us informed all the way."

About Roz Hutchinson

Roz Hutchinson is a Wichita wife, mother and chief spoiler of six grandkids and three Chihuahuas, a die-hard women's basketball fan, and director of Communications and Public Relations for Ascension Via Christi.