Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tim Tebow meets 4-year-old boy with leukemia

Preston Winslow, 4, looks over to his father, James Winslow, right, while playing football with Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow. The former Florida Gators star invited the family to a workout so Preston, who has leukemia, could meet his idol.

OCTAVIO JONES | Times

Preston Winslow, 4, looks over to his father, James Winslow, right, while playing football with Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow. The former Florida Gators star invited the family to a workout so Preston, who has leukemia, could meet his idol.

TAMPA — Every time Preston Winslow plays football with his dad, the 4-year-old pretends to be Tim Tebow.

The Denver Broncos quarterback is his favorite player. Just mention Tebow's name and his face lights up.

His parents revel in those grins. There may not be many left.

Preston has acute myeloid leukemia, or AML. Diagnosed in 2010, he stopped responding to treatment last month, his parents said.

On Saturday, for a few hours at least, Tebow helped them forget.

In town to host a training event for members of D1, a sports facility he co-owns in north Tampa, Tebow spent some time on an indoor field with Preston.

As soon as Tebow tossed him the ball, Preston took off — running circles around the championship player. Tebow scooped him up and carried him to the end zone.

Giggling, Preston spiked the ball. Touchdown!

The miniature quarterback took a knee, placed his elbow down and put his fist to his forehead: In the presence of Tebow, Preston Tebowed.

Everyone watching melted.

"That was awesome," Tebow said with a smile. "So good."

Preston grinned.

Love for Tebow runs in the family. Preston's dad, James Winslow, earned his doctorate at the University of Florida during the same years Tebow helped the Gators win two national championships.

At first, Winslow was wowed by his athleticism. Then he discovered there was something more.

"He is such a nice guy and a good role model," Winslow said.

When Tebow joined the Broncos, Winslow and his wife, Celeste, remained fans. Watching his games on television helped them pass the many hours spent in hospital rooms with Preston.

Soon, Tebow had a new fan.

"(Preston) pretty much thinks Tim Tebow is the only football player who exists," Celeste Winslow said.

When the Winslows learned the doctors could do no more for Preston, they made the decision to have fun.

"We've decided not to ruin the time we have left by being down," James Winslow said.

Tim Tebow became part of that. Several of the Winslows' friends contacted Tebow's agent and team repeatedly, hoping for a chance to connect him with Preston.

A couple of weeks ago, Preston received a call from Tebow. He offered the family tickets to a Broncos football game next season. Celeste Winslow had to decline. The timing wouldn't work, she told him.

So Tebow invited them to Tampa for Saturday's D1 event.

The family travelled from their home in North Carolina and spent more than a half-hour on the field running around and catching passes from Tebow. They sat down with him and talked about football. Preston played against him in a game of Connect Four.

"It was better than we expected," James Winslow said. "He spent so much time with us and was so personable."

Preston, wearing his Broncos Tebow jersey with a newly acquired signature on the back, said he had fun.

"He's usually very shy," James Winslow said. "But he opened right up to him."

Shelley Rossetter can be reached at srossetter@tampabay.com or (813) 661-2442.

Tim Tebow meets 4-year-old boy with leukemia 03/10/12 [Last modified: Saturday, March 10, 2012 9:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Jameis Winston's hardest lesson: He can't always save the day

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Ever wonder what in the world goes through Jameis Winston's mind when he tries to fit the ball in a keyhole as he is being dragged to the turf like he was during Thursday night's 12-8 preseason win over the Jaguars?

    JACKSONVILLE, FL - AUGUST 17:  Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers attempts a pass during a preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on August 17, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) 700069805
  2. Despite pain, woman in court faces ex-boyfriend who lit her on fire

    Criminal

    PORT RICHEY

    Sheron Pasco sat in the wheelchair as her mother pushed it toward the man in the orange jail suit.

    Sheron Pasco, 39, right, along with her mother Tranda Webb, 62, pose for a photograph Wednesday, at their home in Port Richey. Pasco's former boyfriend John Riggins doused Pasco with gasoline and set her on fire after an argument last year.. CHRIS URSO   |   Times

  3. Florida starter under center still under wraps

    College

    GAINESVILLE — With two weeks before Florida opens its season against Michigan, the Gators' three-way quarterback battle remains wide open.

    Luke Del Rio, right, is in the mix to start against Michigan in the season opener … as is Malik Zaire and Feleipe Franks.
  4. A sports rout on Wall Street

    Retail

    NEW YORK — Sporting goods retailers can't shake their losing streak.

  5. Rick Kriseman picks Floribbean restaurant for Manhattan Casino

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG— Mayor Rick Kriseman has chosen a controversial restaurant concept to occupy the Manhattan Casino, saying he made a decision 11 days before the mayoral primary because he didn't want politics to get in the way of progress in struggling Midtown.

    Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson speaks during a Friday press conference announcing that the Callaloo Group will open a Floribbean restraurant in the historic Manhattan Casino in St. Petersburg's Midtown neighborhood. Some residents were upset with Mayor Rick Kriseman's choice, saying it will speed up gentrification of the area. [EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]