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Carolina Panthers

For Scott Fitterer, supporting Atrium Health Levine Children's Hospital hits close to home


CHARLOTTE — For Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer, the decision for his My Cause My Cleats shoes was an easy one.

And even though he knows the basics of the story, hearing his mother tell it makes it clear why supporting Atrium Health Levine Children's Hospital is so important to him and his family in his new home.

Shortly after Fitterer was born in 1973, he became very feverish and wouldn't eat or drink. He was quickly transported to Seattle Children's Hospital, where he was diagnosed with a bacterial infection and placed in intensive care.

And if his family didn't realize how serious the situation was at first, they found out quickly.

"We were all just stunned at the time," his mother, Judy Fitterer, said recently. "The day before, he was baptized in the hospital, and the next day, a priest was there reading his last rites. We weren't sure he was going to survive."

Fortunately, the following days brought improvement, but the care he got there stood out to the family on a number of levels.

Scott's father, Jack, was teaching high school and coaching basketball, days busy with other's kids. His mother, Judy, was trying to get his 6-year-old sister Lisa ready for school and juggling his almost-2-year-old sister Kelly. The Fitterers' hands were full, but they had plenty of people to help.


"The care the doctors and nurses gave, the responsiveness, they rocked me at night, would take me out and walk me and rock me. Just the comfort they gave was something our family will never forget," the Panthers GM said.

Of course, since he wasn't quite to the point of remembering the story at that point, his mother has filled in the blanks for him over the years, and the central themes of the story always come through.

"It was a very scary time; we were so frightened about so many things, mainly Scott's health," his mother said. "But for a family with two other small children, the simple fact of not being able to be there around the clock, and knowing he was cared for the way he was.

"And in 1973, with only one of us working, a bill of thousands of dollars would have been devastating to us. But they made it clear to us that shouldn't be a concern, and the only priority was getting him better."

Once he recovered, it was back to the business of being Jack and Judy's baby boy, one "adored" by his sisters.

"The girls were fascinated by him, so thankfully, he was a sturdy child," his mother said. "He had a lot of kids playing with him and breathing on him and tugging at him.

"What can you say? He's a survivor."

Scott Fitterer saw his mother's perspective with adult eyes when his daughter was treated at the same hospital when she was younger, recognizing the level of care and the personal touches that can mean so much to patients and families.

"It's just the way they are, it doesn't feel like most hospitals where you walk in and it's sterile white walls," he said. "It can be scary for kids. This one, you walk in, kids think they're having fun; it takes all the edge off. It's just a welcoming environment, between the decorations and the care you get."

Now that he's found a new home in Charlotte, the work of Levine Children's Hospital quickly became something Fitterer wanted to support as he found out more about their reputation providing top care to their patients — since he knows what families go through.

The shoes he'll wear Sunday were decorated by Iizayah Moore, a 12-year-old being treated for osteosarcoma. He has already gone through major leg surgery and a total knee replacement but has a love for both digital art and the Panthers (and has gotten to know linebacker Shaq Thompson and played video games with him during another team event).

Iizayah Moore

So for Fitterer, having life-saving treatment in that kind of setting on his own 49 years ago made an impact on him and made it an easy cause to support.

"This was something that's hit home for my family now and back then," he said.

And his mother agrees.

"We always tried to give back as much as we could," she said. "And Scott and his family are so grateful to find this kind of place in their new home, because it means so much to so many people."


A number of Levine Children's Hospital patients also decorated shoes for other Panthers staffers. Here are their stories:


Staff/Cause: Don Toner- Lung Cancer

Levine Children's Hospital Patient: DJ Griffin

  • 10 years old
  • B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
  • Received a Bone Marrow Transplant

Why he was the right person to design these shoes:

  • He has been admitted for a long period of time and is always looking for something fun to do
  • Something he always loves to do is create art

Sir Purr- Levine Children's Hospital Patient: Brooklyn McDaniel

  • 11 years old
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma
  • Went through treatment once, is receiving treatment again

Why she was the right person to design these shoes:

  • Her ability to pick up an art tool and create is a gift
  • She took on this role and wanted to do the best job
  • Her art always tells a story

Staff/Cause: Pat Stewart/Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Charlotte

Levine Children's Hospital Patient: Mia Scully

  • 9 years old
  • T-Cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma

Why she was the right person to design these shoes:

  • Uses art, reading, writing, and music as an outlet
  • She also participated in the Junior TopCats performance
  • Loves to create art, and has submitted art for other events (Charlotte FC ball design, Charlotte Knights jersey design) is so detail oriented
  • Pat's cause directly impacts her diagnosis

Staff/Cause: Dan Morgan- Ovarian Cancer
Levine Children's Hospital Patient: Anyah Rounds

  • 20 years old
  • Osteosarcoma
  • Major leg surgery, Partial leg and total knee replacement

Why she was the right person to design these shoes:

  • Often times young adults can feel out of place in a children's hospital
  • She is kind, spunky and a true fighter
  • She took this very seriously, was specific about what she was creating and wanted to do a good job

View photos of different cleats for Panthers players that are supporting different causes for Sunday's game, presented by FedEx.

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