Cam Newton has his critics and his fans. But what he did for one Concord family, when their son was battling cancer, should silence even the harshest critic. That young boy’s mom wants the world to know the Cam she knows.
Cam Newton is the hottest player right now in the NFL. He’s revered for giving away footballs to children and despised for ripping down a sign from a fan of the opposing team.
Everyone thinks they know Newton, but few people truly do, like the family of 10-year old Elijah Aschbrenner.
Elijah’s mom, Becky Hughes, said, “Some love him (Newton). Some hate him, and to us it’s a lot more than that. He touched our hearts, and he touched our lives.”
Elijah had Epitheliod Sarcoma cancer. It robbed him of many things, but his mom and stepdad, Bill Hughes, say battling the disease also gave Elijah courage. Becky Hughes said, “Prior to all of this, he was extremely shy. The day that he went back to school after enduring radiation and his surgery, the first day back to school, he asked one of his friends out on a date to go have ice cream.”
It was that newfound boldness that gave Elijah and his entire neighborhood one of their brightest days. Elijah loved Halloween, and he loved the Panthers. Out of the blue one day he got a call from their star player, Cam Newton. Elijah told Cam how he liked Papa John’s brownies, and ice cream, and he invited Cam to his Halloween party.
Bill Hughes said, “And of course, Cam said, ‘Well, I’ll have to check my schedule, and I’ll see what I can do.”
The party was beyond their imagination. Cam Newton gave them all kinds of food, but that wasn’t even close to the big surprise. Cam came to the event.
Becky said, “And whenever he walked out of the car, I, of course, lost it, and that was the one thing that he said was, ‘Dry it up, Momma,’ because Elijah never liked for me to cry.”
In all the excitement, Cam let everyone know why he was there. Becky Hughes said, “Even though again you have 50 kids that are trying to get to you, he (Cam) wanted Elijah to know that he was here for him.”
It was the inspiration Elijah needed when his body was weak. Bill said, “I think it just made him want to fight harder and live longer, so he could keep enjoying these wonderful things.”
Elijah passed away on November 10, 2015, 46 days after the Halloween party.
Becky said, “As hard as the days are, because I miss Elijah more than you can imagine, he’s with me, and he’s with us, and I told Cam that he has a guardian angel with him, and that Elijah is the loudest one in Heaven right now cheering for him.”