Cam Newton mourns passing of fan he met through Make-A-Wish
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton on Friday morning posted a message on Instagram in which he mourns the loss of Matthew Bailey, a North Carolina teen he befriended last year through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Bailey, who was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer, passed away on Feb. 12. He was 14 years old.
“Thankful to have had the opportunity to meet Matthew in his short time here. An amazing kid with an incredible heart. LET US NOT TAKE FOR GRAN1T L1FE…. AND THE PEOPLE THAT MAY COME iN OUR L1FE’s!!! Special thanks to @makeawish_cwnc and Matthew’s family for giving me the opportunity to have met Matthew! RESTinPEACE my man and let your brave&infectious HEART be contagious and an iNSP1RATiON in THIS WOR1DtoEVERY1! #carpeD1EM -1OVE,” Newton posted to Instagram along with a photograph of he and Bailey hanging out.
Bailey got to meet Newton last May, one of the things the teenager put on a list that contained the ten sports-related things he wanted to do, which was originally published by Bailey’s church in March. The two had lunch together.
I just had lunch with Cam Newton pic.twitter.com/NuPYcoXImJ
— Matthew Bailey (@mattbailey369) May 1, 2014
Bailey’s family posted the following tweet following his meeting with Newton:
What a surprise. Couldn't have been any nicer to us all. Cam Newton fan for life. @CameronNewton pic.twitter.com/gZopsPQ70A
— Nick Bailey (@nick_t_bailey) May 1, 2014
Bailey’s entire list was as follows, via ESPN.com:
1)Throw a football with Cam Newton
2) Play H-O-R-S-E with Bobcats owner Michael Jordan
3) Tebow with Tim Tebow
4) Play a pickup game with Kevin Durant
5) Meet Johnny Manziel
6) Go to the NCAA Final Four
7) Visit Cameron Indoor Arena, meet Coach K
8) Sit courtside for a Miami Heat game
9) Go to the Super Bowl
10) Go to an NBA Finals game
Due to the popularity of the church’s posting of Bailey’s list on social media, Bailey was able to accomplish many of the items contained on it.
As was the case with friendships forged with a terminally ill fan by both the Michigan State Spartans men’s basketball team and Washington Wizards star John Wall, the encounter Newton had with Bailey had an undeniably meaningful impact on the NFL star.
What the athletes experience in the wake of a tragic passing demonstrates the effect these courageous kids have upon on them, something far more significant than the simple joys they brought to the fan.