Patton couple battling cancer find support in lawn mower racing

If you're still looking for something to do this weekend, you could head over to Patton, where a unique activity is helping the community support a couple
Published: Jul. 21, 2023 at 10:12 PM CDT
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PATTON, Mo. (KFVS) - Lawn mowers race around the track in Patton every other weekend. But this Saturday’s race will be special.

On July 22, an appreciation race for John and Jan Preston will be held, both of them longtime volunteers at the race track.

Organizer Tonya Davis is a close friend of the couple. Davis said they always give their all.

“They go above and beyond to make sure that these happen, they’re just very very very special people,” Davis said.

However, the last few months haven’t been easy for them. Both John and Jan are battling cancer and going through chemo therapy.

“We’re fighting many battles right now,” said John.

But through these battles, the Preston’s said they always have the community. John said he likes to look back over the last 10 years of volunteering.

“I’ve seen young men come out here, young women come out here and have actually met and I’ve actually watched them flirt, hold hands,” said John. “Now they are married, they have their own children and they are coming out and are enjoying their weekends here with us. It has been a growing experience for the community and I am really proud that Jan and I have been apart of that.”

John said this recognition isn’t something they’ve ever really expected.

“We’ve never looked for accolades, but knowing that the community has reached out to us in love and prayers and support has really warmed our hearts and made us feel so loved,” said John.

Davis said the goal of Saturday’s race is to let the Preston’s know they are not fighting alone.

“People never really show their appreciation for people while they’re here, they tend to wait till they are gone, and I don’t want to do that,” Davis said.

The appreciation race will start at 6:00 p.m. on July 22 at the track in Patton. Organizers said they expect around 40 lawn mower drivers to race, spanning from ages 4 to 70.