Every year as part of his “Christmas with Cam” initiative, Carolina quarterback Cam Newton invites young patients from Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, N.C., and their parents, to a Panthers game as his guests.
On Sunday, Dec. 13, as Newton led his team to a 38-0 victory over the Atlanta Falcons, 11 youngsters battling various ailments were cheering the Pro Bowl quarterback and his team from the quarterback’s suite inside Bank of America Stadium.
SportsCenter anchor Jade McCarthy, Sunday NFL Countdown feature producer David Pierpont and their crew were granted access to chronicle the special bond between Newton and the young patients as they spent the day as guests of their favorite NFL team’s quarterback.
On this week’s Countdown (ESPN, 11 a.m. ET), McCarthy tells the story of Newton’s time and charity through the words and feelings of 15-year-old Franklin Crockett, a budding quarterback at Northside Christian Academy in Charlotte, who is taking the year off for treatment of a malignant tumor of the bone.
McCarthy on Newton:
Cam Newton and Levine Children’s Hospital stopped at nothing to make this a memorable day for the 11 families involved. There were tangible gifts, but more so, the real gift is the experience these families won’t forget. After the game, Cam took the time to engage with the kids, be silly with them and share the experience. I think his smile may have been as bright as the ones on the kids’ faces.
McCarthy on the kids’ reactions to the “Christmas with Cam” experience:
For some of the young kids, it was their first time going to a Panthers game. For others it was a unique way to experience the game. For all of them, it was a day to embrace something joyful and re-energizing.
The Panthers “Keep Pounding” motto really captures what these children go through on a daily basis – they are facing challenges that many are fortunate never to have to face. It was very meaningful for them to run onto the Panthers field, hear their parents cheer for them and find the Panthers quarterback at the end of the tunnel.