Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton
took Christmas into overtime for a 10-year-old boy named Austin Deckard on Tuesday.
Deckard suffers from advanced pulmonary hypertension, a severe heart condition, and is set to undergo a risky procedure on Wednesday, but before letting doctors work on him, he had just one Christmas wish: to meet Cam Newton.
Two days after Christmas and one day before his procedure, Deckard's wish came true.
While sitting in his hospital bed, dressed in Auburn gear (Newton's alma mater), Deckard fell silent when the NFL's reigning MVP surprised him by strolling into the young football fan's hospital room.
According to the Ledger-Enquirer
, after receiving a big hug from Deckard, Newton remarked, "I thought I had an unknown number but, dude, I've gotten about 100 calls about you."
About a week ago, one of Deckard's schoolteachers, Courtney Cooper, started a campaign on Facebook to have Deckard meet his hero.
"Just before Thanksgiving, I was headed to an Auburn football game," Cooper wrote in a Facebook post. "Austin was in awe of this. He also told me he 'wished Cam Newton could come to his birthday party.' Austin may not ever make it to an Auburn football game but I know social media is a strong force that can make things happen. Let's use it for something positive and spread this like wildfire and somehow, someway get the word to Cam Newton and give this precious little boy his wish."
In addition to putting a smile on Deckard's face, Newton also presented a $30,000 check to help the children at North Carolina's Barrington Academic Center earlier this month.