Phenix City teacher amazed as sick student's dream is realized

Austin Deckard (Source: Courtney Cooper)
Austin Deckard (Source: Courtney Cooper)
Austin Deckard (Source: Courtney Cooper)
Austin Deckard (Source: Courtney Cooper)

PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) - A dream came true for 10-year-old Austin Deckard Tuesday - he met NFL superstar and former Auburn Tiger Cam Newton. It was a wish he told his Lakewood Elementary teacher, Courtney Cooper, about for months.

"Austin wished for Cam Newton to come to his birthday," Cooper said. "I knew Austin's love for Auburn and I just wanted to do something for him."

Cooper said she was in shock when she heard Austin had been diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension, a condition which affects the arteries in the lungs and in the heart. He's scheduled to have a stent implanted on Friday, but doctors are unsure if he will make it through the procedure.

When she asked for support and prayers for Austin as he battles his rare condition on Facebook, she had no idea her post would go viral.

"I knew it would get shared but I had no idea it would get this big," said Cooper.  "It gives me chills just thinking about it."

Newton visited Austin, of Phenix City, at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston, according to a representative at the Cam Newton Foundation.

"We were all crying. Cam came through and made this little boy's wish come true; that's a miracle in itself," said Cooper.

Cooper said although she wasn't at the hospital when Newton visited, she was overjoyed when she heard the news.

The Auburn Tigers also captured the touching moment on their Snapchat. A soft "hey, buddy" comes from the reigning NFL MVP's lips and Austin was speechless. The boy gives Newton a huge hug, and the quarterback is taken aback, stroking Austin's hair and hugging him back.

During their meeting, Newton gave Austin an Under Armour bag full of swag and played around with Nerf guns. Newton even signed one and gave it to the fifth-grader as another gift. He also told Austin that he received a number of calls and messages telling him about Austin's story.

"It makes me happy to know there are still good people in this world," Cooper said.

Cooper said although she is ecstatic Newton came to visit Austin, what she is most thankful for the support for Austin during his battle.

"The number of prayers for this family is unbelievable," Cooper said. "It made my heart smile to help reach out and be a part of something awesome."

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