With people streaming into the concert area and R&B star Aloe Blacc preparing to perform, Cam Newton couldn’t help himself.
It’s been less than a week since he got out of his walking boot following ankle surgery, but he had to dance. Newton would call it therapy, and he had already gotten the two-step cleared by his trainer.
Newton hosted around 400 people in Charlotte Friday night at his inaugural Kids Rock gala benefiting the Levine Children’s Hospital and the Cam Newton Foundation.
“When I go to Levine Children’s Hospital, it’s a reciprocal impact, so to speak,” Newton said. “When you see a kid that may have cancer or another sickness that’s put them in that position, I feel so prompted to say, what do I have to complain for? And to see a smile on a child’s face works wonders.”
The gala included a dinner, auction and performance by Blacc, whose song “I’m the Man” was made famous in a Beats by Dre commercial. Newton has an endorsement deal with Beats.
Sponsorships for tables for eight at the dinner went from $5,000 to $25,000, and the money went to both Newton’s foundation and the children’s hospital.
There was also a silent auction that included several items autographed by Newton, a football signed by Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath, an Oakland Raiders-signed Bo Jackson jersey and a tennis racket signed by Venus and Serena Williams.
Newton’s foundation focuses almost solely on benefiting children. Last month, his second annual School Pride Day raised $225,000 for six area middle schools, and this summer he’ll hold 7-on-7 football tournaments for high school teams in Charlotte and Atlanta.
Along with rookie minicamp, the Panthers are holding voluntary offseason workouts. Newton is expected to be healthy by training camp.
“I got a chance to see the incoming rookies and (I’m) very excited about (first-round receiver) Kelvin Benjamin – my future target,” Newton said. “Everybody’s coming in hungry, and that’s what you expect to happen. I can’t wait to get started. I’ve got to get this ankle back 100 percent. It’s a day-to-day process and it’s going along well. I’m feeling great.”