Preston Harris, a 12-year-old from Berkeley Springs, W.Va., is a born competitor. So when he tried out for and made the Warm Springs Middle School seventh-grade basketball team, he was “very excited and pumped,” said his father, Jamie Harris.
Even with his passion and grit, Preston wasn’t a shoo-in for the team, despite the hours he’s logged shooting hoops with his siblings, a younger brother and an older sister, and watching Michael Jordan videos. That’s because Preston has Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a progressive muscle-debilitating disease that takes away the ability to walk, run and jump.
Preston’s contributions to the team go beyond what he brings to the court, inspiring his teammates with his hustle and good attitude. His coach has remarked that, despite his diagnosis, Preston has never once complained about running or doing drills during practice.
All season long whenever Preston was able to get into a game, his teammates tried to give him a chance to make a basket. And finally, in a playoff game against Capon Bridge Middle School’s seventh-grade team, Preston scored, helping lead his team to victory 41-26.
As you can see, the crowd went wild.
Preston was recently honored by being selected to play in the inter-squad scrimmage during parent night at his school – an event that just happened to fall on his 12th birthday – and he scored six points, too.
Basketball may be his favorite sport – he loves to root on Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder and the North Carolina Tarheels – but this ambitious young man is hoping to turn another passion into a profession. A master Lego builder, Preston hopes to be an architect one day.
Until then, he’ll continue excelling at his favorite subjects, including math, science and PE, and inspiring everyone he meets. He knows that one day, DMD will try to take away his ability to run around and play ball. But, as his father Jamie says, “Preston doesn’t want to lose his mobility.” That’s why his family has been working hard to raise money to fund treatments and cures through their local MDA Muscle Walk event and by raising awareness in their community about the disease.
One great way to support Preston is by sharing this video. Another is to be on the lookout for MDA Shamrocks at local retailers across the country this month and next, which sell for $1, $5 or more to help fund “the best week of the year” at MDA Summer Camps like the one Preston attends in Maryland each summer.