Fixing the hearts of children born with heart defects means giving them a second birth. For Preston, it also gave him the chance to fulfill one of his wildest dreams with his foster family.
We saw Preston in consultation during a mission to Kinshasa in 2015, when he was just a little fellow of 2, snuggled up in his mom's arms. Suffering from Tetralogy of Fallot, we took charge of his first operation a few months later, at Hôpital Jacques Cartier in Massy.
This first surgery improved his health, but we knew that a second would be necessary to repair his heart. In the meantime, Preston returned home to the Democratic Republic of Congo, where he was closely monitored by our referring doctor. On January 26, at the age of 8 and a half, Preston returned to Paris for surgery, very tired but still with the same infectious smile.
This second surgery was essential because his heart disease was making him breathless, and he came back more than in time. It was impossible for him to run, climb stairs or play soccer, his great passion! Indeed, in a letter to his foster family, Preston's mom explained that her son was an unconditional fan of football, and in particular of Kylian Mbappé, whom he dreamed of meeting one day.
This information caught the attention of his host family, who presented him with a cuddly toy of their favorite player on his arrival. "With this stuffed toy, Kylian will accompany you everywhere and give you lots of courage!" From that moment on, she never left his side, whether at the hospital, in bed, at the convalescence center, at the dinner table... Like a guardian angel, her idol watched over him throughout his health journey.
Following his operation, Preston returned to his foster family transformed! Once his fatigue and shortness of breath had disappeared, he was finally able to run around in the garden and, above all, play soccer, without suspecting that Aurélie and Cyril, his parents at heart, had been secretly planning a big surprise for several weeks: allowing Preston to become an "Escort kid".
It was just before the big day and after getting the go-ahead from the cardiopediatrician that they told him the good news. Preston didn't believe it at first - he was "scared to death" - but he finally seized the huge opportunity to take to the field, hand in hand with Kylian Mbappé at a PSG match.
This moment of indescribable joy will remain engraved forever in her memories and those of her host family, so happy to have filled her eyes with stars!