UPDATE (12/26/18) – Scotty just finished up his first semester of college at Cal State San Marcos. Like anyone moving away from home for the first time, there are adjustments to be made. Scotty’s biggest concern was keeping his liver healthy without the direct help of his parents and family.
While he suffered a few setbacks during the fall, Scotty battled through the stress. Now that he’s on break, he’s had some time to reflect on how he can better protect himself from health scares. Scotty is encouraged to right his wrongs for the second semester and finish out the school year and baseball season on a high note.
ORIGINAL STORY (6/6/18) – 2003 began like any ordinary year in the Prieto household, that was until the end of March.
“I just remember our life being turned upside down in a matter of minutes,” Holly Prieto said.
Holly and her husband Chris could tell something was drastically wrong with their oldest son Scotty.
“We noticed that he was having really high fevers every night, he stopped walking, he didn’t want to eat, and he was vomiting,” Holly remembered.
The illness was more significant than first thought. At just three years old, Scotty was diagnosed with Acute Liver Failure. He was immediately air-lifted to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
“We were at the hospital 10 minutes and the doctor came in and said he would need a transplant,” Holly said. “He essentially told us we would need to find Scotty liver or he probably wasn’t going to make it,” Chris added.
The days started disappearing, but hopes for Scotty’s survival did not. Through emails, stories in the paper and even KSBY, it provided roughly 80 people wanting to be a match. That’s when 31-year-old Grover Beach resident, Carolyn Bean, stepped to the plate.
From April 9, 2003: “I fit the person that they’re looking for,” Bean said. “I thought, ‘I’d do this. I’m young, I’m healthy, and I feel confident that the doctors know what they’re doing.'”
On April 11, just days before the deadline, Carolyn and Scotty underwent successful livery surgeries.
“You know, I owe her my life, literally,” Scotty exclaimed. “To be able to look back on that and know that I beat that day and event, I’m just so thankful to be here.”
“It’s unbelievable that she went into surgery the way he did and came out with the same scars he had,” Holly said. “He carries a piece of her around forever.”
A new liver provided new life for Scotty. He began to focus on his first love, baseball.
“My liver transplant and baseball both have their struggles. I use tools that I learned in both to help me in each of them,” Scotty explained. “It’s really cool that the two things come together.”
Scotty began playing for Baseball Factory, a traveling team out of LA to get his name, and arm, on the radar of college scouts. 15 years to the date of his life-saving surgery, Scotty signed his Letter of Intent to pitch at Cal State San Marcos.
“Everything came full-circle that day,” Scotty added. “It was great to come from almost dying to living my dream.”
Scotty’s fight is far from over. His scars are a constant reminder of that. But something that’s never failed this 18-year-old, is his heart and will to never give up.
“In the end, I feel like I came out on top,” Scotty said. I’m just very grateful to be able to do both, survive and play the game that I love.”
Chris added, “We tell all of our kids, ‘Dare to be great. Write your own ending’. I’m just telling you right now, he’s not done.”