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Raising money brought grieving boy ‘back to life’

Last year at this time, Preston Bober was raising money for the American Heart Association in memory of his father, Jon Bober, 39, who died from heart disease earlier in the year.

Preston’s goal: Keep other people from dying.

“Happy and healthy lives,” he said.

FIRST REPORT: Carlisle boy a ‘wonderful example of giving back’

But along the way, his mother Stephanie Russell said she noticed a difference in her son. His heart was healing too.

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“It brought him back to life,” she said of her son’s fund-raising efforts. “He had something to look forward to. He had a purpose. It was a huge opportunity for Preston to heal. It was a tragic loss for him and this helped his grief very much. It gives him a good way to remember his daddy and honor his daddy every year.”

Team Preston — Preston Bober, his mother Stephanie Russell and his grandmother Judy Bober — are raising money for the American Heart Association through a raffle on Facebook. (RICK McCRABB/STAFF)

So no wonder Preston, 9, a fourth-grader at Grigsby Intermediate School in Carlisle, is spearheading another campaign this year. Last year, he sold hand-painted rocks at the Butler/Warren County Heart Walk. Counting the rock sales and other donations, Preston raised more than $5,000, the second most, for the heart association.

This year, he and his family — Team Preston — have collected items for a raffle and Preston will draw the winning tickets live on Facebook on Sept. 22.

There are $1 tickets, $5 tickets and $10 tickets, based on the value of the prize. Some of the prizes include Cincinnati Bengals tickets, greens fees at Brown’s Run Country Club, a tandem jump with Start Skydiving, FC Cincinnati tickets and makeup packages.

His grandmother, Judy Bober, who works at Cincinnati State Middletown, said when she tells Preston’s story, businesses donate without hesitation.

“You don’t even have to ask,” Judy Bober said. “They say, ‘I’ll give. I’ll give.’ They throw things at you. It’s just wonderful. People want to be part of something so good.”

Since the items were listed on the Team Preston Raffle For The Heart Facebook page, more than 1,000 people around the United States have been reached.

The Butler/Warren County Heart Walk is Sept. 29 at Atrium Medical Center.

Preston also will be selling raffle tickets at the Middletown Arts Festival in downtown on Sept. 8, and Team Preston will hold a car wash from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 9 at O’Reilly Auto Parts, 665 S. Breiel Blvd.

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