Mount Vernon, Mo High School football player. get a new heart, a new way of looking at life

MOUNT VERNON, Mo. (KY3) – When Mt. Vernon sophomore ran against Preston Hardyman to join summer soccer camp, the climbers had big plans for him. Tom Cox, head coach of Mt. Vernon, said: “He will have a big role on our venture team.

But at a practice session on August 11, those plans changed. “He was very slow the whole time,” Cox said. “And I ended up saying to him, ‘Preston, what’s wrong with you?’ I’m not mad at him. But it was so special. I was just like, ‘What’s going on?’ He said, “I don’t know, coach, I’ve been very tired lately.”

Cox pulled Preston out of practice and put him on the bench. A move he didn’t know at the time was so important. Cox said: “He went home. “And when he got home, his dad noticed that his leg was swollen.”

Tim Hardyman, Preston’s father, said: “I’m a former paramedic. “The first thing I thought was, if he was my age, I would think you have congestive heart failure.”

Preston’s parents rushed him to the emergency room in Aurora.

Tim said: “The doctor there was great. “And as soon as he saw the CT of his heart, he said we had to go.”

It’s every parent’s nightmare and time is not on their side. A plane was flown to Monett to fly Preston immediately to Kansas City.

“He got there at midnight and I got there around 3 a.m.,” Tim said.

When Preston’s father got there, the doctor told him that Preston’s heart had swelled into one of the largest they had ever seen.

“The ICU doctor, he just looked at me and said, ‘Did he practice soccer yesterday? “Tim said. “I said, ‘The coach made him take off his helmet and sit down because he was so tired.” And he said, “Well, maybe he saved my life.”

Doctors tried a procedure to help his heart. It doesn’t work. Only one option left. Preston needs a new heart. “They told us without this he wouldn’t have survived,” Tim said.

Back to Mt. Vernon, the students organized a fundraiser at the Logan-Rogersville game. They wore neon colors to brighten up Preston’s day. Tim said: “What excites me the most is when I see photos of the Logan-Rogersville fans. “And seeing that the students, they’re also in neon costumes.”

But the night before, Preston received a call. An organ donor died at the hospital. Their heart is a match for Preston.

Tim said: “I think the hardest moment was watching him go for a heart transplant. “Knowing they’re going to take his heart out and put the other in and hope it works.”

It worked. “When I go out for a walk, I appreciate being able to walk,” says Preston. “There were times in my room I couldn’t even get up and go to the bathroom.”

Word spread at the game. The fundraiser is no longer to support Preston while he waits for a heart. Now, the money raised will be used to support Preston while he recovers from a heart attack. Kadence Krempges, a senior at Mt. Vernon, who helped organize the event, said: “It was really exciting that the student union found out about it. “We are doing this for him and are just behind him for this. It’s really great to know that he’s got a heart and that he’s fine now. “

As Preston lived life at Ronald McDonald House in Kansas City, he couldn’t wait to get back to playing football. Doctors say he might as well run the track this spring. “I wouldn’t run 400, though,” Preston said with a laugh. “I’ll run 100 or 200, maybe.”

And Preston wants the donor’s family to know how much they mean to him. “Thanks,” he said. “I live because of them.”

“There are so many other families who were given a second chance because of their decision,” Tim said.

Including Preston’s teammates, who always carry his jersey with him to every game.

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