Just days before undergoing surgery to address a life-threatening heart problem, a 10-year-old boy was granted the fulfillment of a wish. He got a hospital-bed visit Tuesday from Cam Newton, the Panthers quarterback and former Auburn star who received a huge hug in return.
Taylor Deckard was decked out in Newton’s No. 2 Auburn jersey when his idol entered his room at an Atlanta children’s hospital. The quarterback, who won the 2010 Heisman Trophy en route to leading the Tigers to an undefeated season and the national championship, gave the boy a bag full of athletic-apparel goodies and played with Nerf guns.
Three weeks ago, doctors diagnosed Deckard as having advanced pulmonary hypertension, and according to a Facebook post last week by his teacher at an Alabama elementary school, the boy’s “prognosis is not good.” In fact, that teacher, Courtney Cooper, was so concerned that Deckard might not “make it through” his scheduled stent procedure that she took to social media, asking people to “please pray for a miracle.”
Cooper also noted that Deckard is a big Newton fan, and she expressed hope that the quarterback could “give this precious little boy his wish” and come to his 11th birthday party in February. However, with time possibly running even shorter than that for Deckard, Newton reportedly chartered a flight to get to Atlanta by Tuesday.
“Cam is one of his heroes,” the boy’s mother, Cassie Deckard, told WTVM. “Anytime he gets a chance to do any kind of report on him in school he writes it on him.”
Newton is known for his compassion for young people. Whenever he scores a touchdown, he looks for a youngster in the stands, usually one wearing a Panthers jersey, to whom to give the football, and he hosts an annual Thanksgiving dinner for hundreds of at-risk children.
“Thank you to Make A Wish and the Cam foundation for acting so fast for this precious little boy,” Cooper said Tuesday evening on Facebook. “To Cam Newton – I may not ever meet you and that’s ok but what you did for this special little kid tonight made my year and shows compassion and love that we can all learn something from. I know I will never forget this moment, that hug, and this video.”