Wish Granted

Steve Chapman

 Preston Hardyman poses for a picture with his friends, family and other supporters.

Mt. Vernon High School junior Preston Hardyman poses with his new home gym, donated by Titan Home Fitness through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. (Photos by Angel Daniels)

Mt. Vernon’s Hardyman has his own fitness gym; equipment provided by Make-A-Wish Foundation, Titan Home Fitness
A Mt. Vernon high school student who was required to undergo a heart transplant last year was surprised with his own Titan Fitness weightlifting set on Tuesday, Feb. 6. Representatives from the Make-A-Wish Foundation presented Preston Hardyman, 17, with the fitness equipment at a reception at his home.
“This means the world,” he said after seeing the weight set. “Honestly, I … never thought of anything like this, and I know that the time I had away from my family and my friends and stuff, (I felt) like, ‘It’s going to be it was taken away from me, from my heart stuff,’ and just to have this … I feel like I can bring some of that back.”
Preston said he felt like the gift from Make-A-Wish was not just for him, but for his friends and family as well.
“I want this so this could be a wish for everybody, not just for me,” he said, “and I … and everyone else can benefit from (it) …and not just me.”
Brian Miller, vice-president of marketing and communications for Make-a-Wish in Kansas and Missouri, said it was the selflessness Preston expressed in his wish that led them to help give him the weight set.
“Preston was referred to us for a wish,” he said, “and our amazing volunteer wish granters met with Preston and his family to find out what his one true wish was. And we were told that he wanted something that was not only going to benefit him but also benefit his community, his brother (and) his friends.”
Miller said Make-a-Wish gave Preston the weight set to help him realize his dream of playing for the Mt. Vernon Mt’neers football team again.
“Preston is really athletic; he’s really into sports (and) plays football,” Miller said. “And so, through his medical diagnosis, his heart transplant, he was unable to do that for a long time. And now that he’s getting back in the swing of things, and getting his strength back, we really wanted (to give him) something that was going to help propel him and get him back to that fast track, because he really wants to go back out there again and play football, and not only play, but succeed at football.”
However, Miller said, Preston didn’t just want the weight set for himself.
“He (chose) a Titan Home Fitness gym that he can come out and work out at whenever he would like,” Miller said, “and now he can actually share that experience also with his siblings, his brothers, his sister and his mom and dad, and also all of his friends too.”
Miller added that when Titan Home Fitness heard Preston’s story, they donated the weight set, which he said was valued at $5,000.
Preston said that now that he has his own home fitness center, he plans to workout and rejoin the Mt’neers in the fall.
“My goal for this year is to be better and be a big contributor to our football team next year and help other people too,” he said.
Preston also expressed his gratitude for his mother, whom he said had it the hardest while he was in the hospital.
“I know from my mom mostly, that this was very a hard experience,” he said, “and I feel bad for her the most, because obviously, I was feasting in the hospital, but my mom was the one with all the stress. She was up there with me; she was up there every night, taking care of me and honestly … this has been a hard experience, but mostly for my mom, and I feel like I can’t thank her enough.”
After graduating high school, Preston wants to go to college.


Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


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