Preston Winterman lives the life of a footballer for one day only and leads his team to glory!Rovers’ recent home win over Chesterfield saw young Doncaster Rovers supporter, Preston Winterman as mascot for the game. The 7 year old had undergone a traumatic summer, having been ill in Leeds General Infirmary during the summer, having to undergo open heart surgery.
His father, Danny, explained how Preston found his day: “Preston has been very excited for 3 months and really looking forward to this day, so it was a real ‘pick me up’ for him after a traumatic summer.
“He was very star-struck in the home changing room and it showed as he went quiet but James Coppinger and Paul Dickov were fantastic making him very welcome.
“They made a big play of Preston during the warm up as promised plus Copps had his picture taken with my lads. He now thinks after the win that he could be the lucky mascot” It is the best day he has had as a season ticket holder. He loves going to the matches and watching the team home and away, and he wants us to win the league!”
“I want to thank Paul Dickov and the team from the bottom of my heart, for being great with him and my family. It has always been Preston’s ambition to become a footballer, but sadly he isn’t able to. He isn’t even allowed to play junior football, due to the medication for his bloods, but that doesn’t stop him training with his brothers or taking chunks out of them in the garden when playing.”
Preston was admitted to Leeds General Infirmary for what should have been a couple of days on 26th June to have a catheter procedure. He had to go in early to stabilise his blood-thinning as he has an artificial valve.
It was hoped he would be out for the following day after the procedure, but the hospital informed his parents that he needed open heart surgery that week as the balloon they were hoping to use to widen his conduit would have caused more damage than good.
The conduit he had when he was born had now severely narrowed. His parents knew it was narrowing and expected this at some stage but not immediately. It was an even bigger shock after he had pushed himself so hard in the sports day a few days earlier.
Whilst in hospital Preston also became the face of the ward on the official opening of ward 51 with Her Royal Highness, The Countess of Wessex. Proudly wearing his Rovers kit and being pictured in the papers, he told her that Donny was a proper team to support, not Sunderland.
He went through the ward singing ‘Rovers Till I Die’ numerous times and even had a laugh and joke with some adult Leeds fans booing them. The Countess, who is Royal Patron of the Leeds Children’s Hospital, met youngsters who had recently undergone, or who are waiting for, surgery for congenital heart conditions.
Commemorating the ward opening, the Countess cut a giant heart-shaped cake made by Staff Nurse, Louise Murphy. On hand to help with the ceremony was young heart patient, Preston Winterman.
Preston went for open surgery to replace the conduit. This was a risky procedure as it was the 3rd time they have been through the chest. He came out of theatre but had to go back down a few hours later to be operated on again to sort a bleed in his chest. After 4 days on ventilation and a week in recovery Preston came out of hospital and is now fitter and stronger than ever.
It was a proud moment for his parents and every Doncaster Rovers fan as he led out the team for the big game against the Spireites. A brave young Rovers fan indeed.