NFL Star Gives 10-Year-Old Battling Severe Heart Condition A Merry Christmas


Due to a life-threatening illness, 10-year-old Austin Deckard spent Christmas in an Atlanta hospital. Austin has been diagnosed with advanced pulmonary hypertension.

According to Courtney Cooper, Austin’s physical education teacher at Lakewood Elementary School in Phenix City, Ala., the boy had one wish.

That wish was to have a chance to meet NFL star quarterback Cam Newton.

Austin is a fan of the Auburn Tigers, whom Newton led to a national championship in 2011 before being drafted No. 1 overall by the Carolina Panthers.

Cooper recalled an incident in November when she was getting ready to attend an Auburn game and Austin found out.

The boy remarked that he “wished Cam Newton could come to my birthday party.”

Touched by his wish, Cooper reached out on Facebook and asked people to help make Austin’s dream come true.

As a result of the post, Newton was made aware of Austin’s situation. Because of the severity of the boy’s illness and the possibility that Austin will not live to see his birthday in February, Newton surprised him with a visit two days after Christmas.

While visiting with the boy, the Heisman Trophy winner said, “I thought I had an unknown number, but, dude, I’ve gotten about 100 calls about you.”

When news of the surprise meeting between a sick boy and his hero hit Facebook, many were moved to respond.

Carl Patterson posted: “I wish I could bottle up how this made me feel and utilize it whenever I feel hopeless with humanity. Such a sweet gesture.”

“A simple gesture is all it takes to make a sick child’s day. It can give them one joyous memory, inspiration, and hope,” wrote Kelly Basen Gomez. “The cost to the athlete, star, icon is compassion. Yes it Is difficult to see children that are sick, imagine being that child or his or her family. Thank you for taking the time to make this little man’s day!!

Mary Van Horn Beckman posted, “Aww, that made me teary-eyed. I hope that little boy will be fine. Saying prayers. Bless Cam Newton for visiting that boy.”

Austin’s next surgery is scheduled for Friday.

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