It was an unusual Facebook post for Courtney Cooper, but the Phenix City teacher thought she could make an attempt to reach NFL quarterback Cam Newton.
Cooper is a physical education teacher at Lakewood Elementary School in Phenix City. One of her students is 10-year-old Austin Deckard, who is gravely ill and is currently at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s Egleston Hospital where he has been for three weeks.
He has been diagnosed with advanced pulmonary hypertension. According to the Cleveland Clinic, it is a rare disorder in which the arteries that carry blood from the heart to the lungs become narrowed, making it difficult for blood to flow through the vessels. As a result, the blood pressure in these arteries — called pulmonary arteries — rises far above normal levels. This abnormally high pressure strains the right ventricle of the heart, causing it to expand in size. Overworked and enlarged, the right ventricle gradually becomes weaker and loses its ability to pump enough blood to the lungs. This could lead to the development of right heart failure.
Austin will have a procedure on Dec. 28 and the prognosis is not good.
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“He may not make it,” Cooper said. “Please pray for a miracle.”
The fifth-grader is a big Auburn football fan and Newton,who now plays for the Carolina Panthers, is his favorite player.
On her post, Cooper said just before Thanksgiving, Austin told her he wished he could meet Newton.
“Social media is a strong force for making things happen and I thought about doing something positive with it,” she said. “I don’t know but maybe the word could get to Newton and make one sick little boy happy.”