Parker girl gets outing with Tebow

29 Feb

A young Parker girl has gained national attention after jetting off to Los Angeles to attend an awards show with Colorado’s biggest celebrity.

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Presli Collins did not expect her 10th birthday to include a star-studded weekend as a personal guest of Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow. Now she is fielding questions from prominent news personalities and autograph requests from her classmates.

Her father, Andy Collins, still has no explanation for why his daughter was selected for the honor of walking the red carpet and attending the Hall of Game Awards ceremony in L.A. Feb. 18 with Tebow, but the football superstar has been known to surprise children who have various illnesses to memorable meet-and-greets.

Presli suffers from neurofibromatosis-1, or NF1, a genetic disorder in which soft-tissue tumors form in the skin, spinal cord and nerves from the brain. The condition causes severe scoliosis, and the third-grader has endured numerous surgeries on her back, including a 10-hour spinal fusion at Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora last August. NF1 also causes learning disabilities in reading and writing, and stunts Presli’s growth. She weighs only 40 pounds and stands roughly 4 feet tall.

Her newfound fame has helped bring awareness to the rare disorder and it has shown a family of Broncos fans that Tebow lives up to his reputation as someone who uses his platform to bring others joy.

“You hear about things like this happening to kids, you read about it and see it on TV, especially here in Denver and you see how he works with kids, but to actually have that happen to your child, I’m just speechless,” Andy Collins said.

Presli’s adventure has been featured in newspapers and on television and radio stations across the country, and she has handled the pressure with impressive poise. However, the flurry of activity has caught up with her. She recently feel asleep on the way to a television interview that was going to be viewed by millions.

The Tim Tebow Foundation and W15H, the nonprofits that facilitate Tebow’s many philanthropic endeavors, whisked Presli to southern California, where the family lived before they moved to Parker a little more than a year ago, and set her up in the lap of luxury. She stayed in the penthouse suite at a beachfront hotel and dined at fancy restaurants. Tebow even asked the little girl’s dad if he could escort her down the red carpet. The paparazzi snapped photos as the pair walked into the awards show, which celebrates the accomplishments of influential athletes.

“They said, ‘Tim is going to make her the princess of the ball,’ and that’s exactly what he did,” said Andy Collins, whose wife, Lisa, grew up in Littleton and has long been a diehard Broncos fan.

Children’s Hospital also made sure Presli received the royal treatment. A long list of specialists continues to monitor her many ailments, including three tumors in her torso that have been left alone because they are not near any vital organs.

Presli’s eloquence in the limelight has opened a few doors. Children’s Hospital has expressed interest in using her in promotional spots, as has the Children’s Tumor Foundation.

For more information on Presli, NF1 and her recent trip, visit facebook.com/prayforpresli.

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http://m.ourcoloradonews.com/mobile/parker/news/parker-girl-gets-outing-with-…

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