KSL GIVE-A-THON

Preston uses his voice to stay positive while battling rare cancer

Nov 23, 2021, 10:02 PM | Updated: Nov 24, 2021, 9:04 am
(Courtesy: Nijst Family)...
(Courtesy: Nijst Family)
(Courtesy: Nijst Family)

GIVE-A-THON – At 16 years old, Preston Christiansen is wiser than most teens his age.

“I look at life differently than some other people would, I guess,” Christiansen said. “There’s not really a reason to stress out.”

Preston has fought cancer for many years. He has rung that bell after treatments many times, only to have the cancer return.

“It’s not like you can really change a lot of stuff, but you can change how you get through that,” said Christiansen.

KSL first met Preston and his family five years ago, shortly after being diagnosed with cancer.

“Preston has what’s called Desmo Plastic Small Cell Round Tumor,” Michelle Nijst, Preston’s mom, said. “It’s extremely rare. There are about 200 cases in the world.”

They soon began treatments at Primary Children’s Hospital.

“They said to go to Primary Children’s, and I’ll never forget the room,” Nijst said. “It was 4424, and it was Christmas Day, and they had decorated everything for him.”

A sad time for the family, but one filled with gratitude too, and since that time, cancer has been an almost constant presence in Preston’s life.

But it never dampened his personality – or his sense of humor.

“What is it called when Batman leaves church? Christian Bale…” Preston joked.

Preston has now rung the bell after chemo treatments more times than anyone should ever have to.

Chances are he won’t get to ring it again. His cancer has returned and spread. Doctors say his options are minimal now.

“You wake up, and you go to bed every night wondering how much time you have left?” Nijst said. “It’s hard, accepting, and not being able to change or fix Preston. I’d give anything. And knowing I can’t, it’s hard. I try not to focus on that. No, I just, I actually follow Preston’s lead. He’s so positive.”

Preston tries to keep a positive outlook.

“Even though it’s like such a bad thing that I was diagnosed with this illness, it’s also something that has brought me a lot of happiness and joy as well because I’ve met so many people, and they’ve really been a big part of my life,” Preston said.

Now music is also helping him make new connections.

“I just got into like singing and stuff,” Preston said. “And then I was like, you know, I actually want to make a song.”

He recently released a Blake Shelton cover of “Lonely Tonight.” It was on Spotify first, and then it went to iTunes.

When Shelton heard about it  – he sent Preston a video message.


“So I was like, ‘Am I dreaming right now? Did this actually happen?'” Preston said.

Preston says he wants the proceeds from the song to benefit cancer research for kids.

“It’s like really cool that everybody wants to be like, invested in that and actually likes the song,” Preston said. “I felt like, I felt really loved. More than normal. I guess.”

He hopes to release a Christmas song too.

His high school cheer squad recently helped him raise awareness for childhood cancer research, and he was made an honorary cheerleader at a Weber State Football game.

“He always wanted a letterman’s jacket, and now he has one, and it’s like, you know from a college that he might not be able to go to,” Nijst said. “And they wanted to make him family, make him a part of the team.”

Kristopher Nijst, Preston’s dad, said, “It makes you feel good that there’s people out there that that don’t owe you but then choose to give their time or resources to make Preston have so many amazing memories.”

Preston says it’s the people who show love that make the most impact, and that’s how he wants to be remembered.

“I’m going to be the best person I can be and hopefully make an impact in others’ lives because eventually everybody is going to not be here anymore,” Preston said. “So it’s what you do during that time that you’re here that matters and all the happiness that you bring others.”

 

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

KSL Give-A-Thon

...
Carole Mikita

Family of boy with rare genetic disorder thankful for care at Primary Children’s

With a big smile and a clap of his hand, anyone can tell that Emmett Bleyle is a lively, happy 5-year-old. His parents will tell you that every day of his life is a gift.
18 days ago
...
No Author

KSL Give-A-Thon

KSL NewsRadio and TV, together with FM100.3 and 103.5 The Arrow have teamed up to raise more money for the kids being served by the hospital than ever before! Listen and watch for compelling stories, interviews with patients, families and hospital staff. We’ll share the story of this incredible hospital and the hundreds of amazing […]
26 days ago
...
Ashley Moser, KSL TV

Early diagnosis of rare heart condition helps Amaya on her road to recovery

Amaya was born with a rare heart condition, which, fortunately, was found before she was born.
1 year ago
...
Angie Dennison and Eliza Pace, KSL TV

Primary Children’s gives Cammdon a new chance at life

Cammdon suffered debilitating seizures...then a groundbreaking brain surgery changed his life.
1 year ago
...
Angie Denison, KSL TV

Young boy battles severe heart defect, endures multiple heart surgeries

Talmage has a severe heart defect called hypoplastic left heart syndrome. At three days old, he underwent his first heart surgery. Since then, he has undergone two more complex, open-heart surgeries.
1 year ago
The dance and music therapy program at Primary Children's Hospital is a huge help for children like...
KSL TV Staff

Young Sophia benefits from Primary Children’s Hospital dance, music therapy program

It's been proven, kids are empowered through Music and Art Therapies to manage pain, express emotion, and keep a positive attitude during a hospital stay. As part of KSL’s Primary Children's Give-A-Thon campaign, we met a patient named Sophia who has benefited from both Dance and Music Therapy at the hospital.
1 year ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Preston uses his voice to stay positive while battling rare cancer