For a few hours, a dozen patients at Atrium Health’s Levine Children’s Hospital and their families were able to forget about their worries and just enjoy a football game as special guests of Carolina Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton as part of his foundation’s “Christmas with Cam” event.

News | 2 months ago

Christmas with Cam – Almost as Good as with Santa Himself

For a few hours, about a dozen patients at Atrium Health’s Levine Children’s Hospital and their families were able to forget about their worries and just enjoy a football game as special guests of Carolina Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton as part of his foundation’s “Christmas with Cam” event. 

 

He’s a legendary figure, known for his recognizable hat and beloved among children. And you can often hear him before you see him coming. No, it’s not Santa Claus. In fact, Saint Nick is probably a little jealous of his style. It’s Carolina Panthers star quarterback Cam Newton and this time of year, he’s spreading Christmas cheer like touchdown passes.

The Cam Newton Foundation's “Christmas with Cam” has truly become a tradition here. About a dozen patients and their families were whisked away from Atrium Health’s Levine Children’s Hospitalfor a special day – VIP seats for the Panthers game. Visits from Panthers’ mascot Sir Purr and Santa himself. A personalized No. 1 jersey. And the chance to meet the larger-than-life Newton on the field after the game. 

Ten-year-old Noah Summers had just finished a round of dialysis treatment when he was surprised with the trip to the game by his mother, Nivia Summers. 

"He has been through a lot over the past few months,” says his mother. “Today, he can concentrate on what’s going on at the game instead of worrying about his health. He can just enjoy himself and be a kid." 

Although the Panthers lost the game, the kids still had a blast in the VIP luxury suites and after the game, got to have their own special introduction upon entering the field, surrounded by a cheering tunnel of parents and volunteers. Newton was waiting at the end of their walk-up with a waiting high-five, fist bump or dab, then posing for what will be an unforgettable picture with the former NFL MVP. 

"We’ve been doing this for years and years and plan on keep doing it for years and years for this reason and this reason only: To put everybody in the holiday spirit, to give thanks to the Lord for giving me this opportunity as well as for you guys to keep striving and keep pushing,” Newton says. “No matter what it is, that’s my word to you guys to keep going and keep pushing." 

"Keep Pounding” is the Panthers’ organizations motto that many of the patients and families at Levine Children’s Hospital have adopted. Many of them have faced some frightening challenges early in their lives – cancer, heart disease, kidney transplants, musculoskeletal conditions, among other illnesses – but have done so with determination and courage.

"This is such a joy for our patients and families! Experiencing the Panthers game in a suite is a thrill and getting to go on the field and meet Cam Newton himself, that’s the opportunity of a lifetime for our kids,” says Callie Dobbins, vice president and facility executive of Atrium Health’s Levine Children’s Hospital. “They’ve spent the majority of their lives in and out of the hospital and doctor’s offices, and there may be more challenges ahead. For the Cam Newton Foundation to be able to provide them with a day of fun, especially around the holidays, it helps boost their spirits, and we are so grateful."