Say what you want about Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers this year, but the franchise quarterback is making huge plays off the field that count.
Newton took his talents to an Atlanta hospital this week to surprise a special fan. Austin Deckard is a 10-year-old with a big heart who happens to be a big fan of Cam. Austin was recently diagnosed with advanced pulmonary hypertension and scheduled to undergo a risky procedure days after Christmas. His elementary school teacher, Courtney Cooper, knew how much Austin loved Newton and figured a visit from the superstar would do Austin some good.
She was right.
Cooper put her plan into action and took to Facebook hoping to get help from others to get the attention of Cam.
Cooper's heartfelt message paid off and Cam Newton showed up to surprise Austin the day after Christmas. The big moment was all caught on video.
"To my family, my friends, the new friends I have made through this amazing act of love and support, Make a Wish foundation, the Cam Newton foundation, Auburn University, the Carolina Panthers, CAM NEWTON and my Lord and Savior-I thank you in a way that I can't even express or put into words," Cooper wrote on Facebook. "And I know Taylor Austin Deckard's family feels the same way."
The moment was just as special for Newton, first as a father and then as a player. "I'm a person that people obviously look at and critique - in a positive or negative way, " Newton said on the Carolina Panthers' site. " But my job as a person is always to be a great example for those who are watching."
"I try to use my influence in a positive way. I was just lucky enough to be able to grant a person a wish."
Newton plans to keep tabs on Austin as he closes out his season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Austin's surgery is scheduled for Friday.