CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Panthers win and a playoff berth weren't the only Christmas gifts for patients at Charlotte's Levine Children's Hospital.
Panthers quarterback Cam Newton spread some holiday cheer by hosting his "Christmas with Cam Newton" event, put on by the Cam Newton Foundation.
Fourteen patients were invited to Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Bank of America Stadium.
The patients watched the Panthers beat Tampa Bay, 22-19, from a catered luxury suite. They also received a personalized No. 1 jersey and met Newton on the field after the game.
“It’s a lot of good things,” 11-year-old Alex Bogran, from Harrisburg, said.
"I just wanted a hug. It's really special. (Cam) is a really good person," 15-year-old Ashling Beatty, from Mooresville, said.
The patients were treated to a great game with a thrilling finish, as Newton scored the game-winning touchdown with 35 seconds remaining.
About an hour after scoring that playoff berth-clinching touchdown, Newton interacted with the children, giving each one an opportunity to feel what it’s like to be a Panther on game day.
“It’s pretty cool,” 16-year-old Katlyn Megill, from Concord, said. “I mean, I think anybody would love to meet him, so it’s pretty awesome.”
The parents who too often have to watch their children in pain said that there is no greater gift than finding an escape such as this event and seeing their children grin ear to ear.
“Going through difficulties like we're going through, to have the opportunity of living this, it just brings joy to our heart,” parent David Bogran said.
Newton said there wasn’t a better way to end a Christmas Eve win than to share some holiday joy with those who need it.
“Any time you get an opportunity to shine light on the good of the world, that's what I'm all for,” Newton said. “Not only do I give them something, they bring on extra luck and we needed it.”
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