Grass Valley family in need of financial help for son’s recovery from liver transplant — and his donor
To make a donation to help 14-year-old Ethan Roth’s family and his donor, Brady Scarborough, with expenses after his liver transplant, visit https://cota.donorpages.com/PatientOnlineDonation/COTAforTeamEthanR/
After waiting for nearly two years for a liver donor, 14-year-old Ethan Roth of Grass Valley was finally wheeled into surgery Monday at the University of California’s San Francisco Medical Center.
Ethan, who has cystic fibrosis, first captured the hearts of Nevada County more than a year ago when a plea went out to help the family with their staggering medical costs. With trips in and out of the hospital — as well as three to five lengthy lung treatments a day at home — Ethan’s childhood has been anything but normal.
Community members stepped up to help — even Nevada City Chief of Police Tim Foley swore Ethan in as a youth member of the Nevada City Police Department in April of 2016.
‘A tremendous sacrifice’
On a few occasions, when it seemed a liver transplant was imminent, Ethan became too ill and was temporarily knocked off the list. When he was healthy, a donor wasn’t available — until now. Remarkably, Brady Scarborough, a 22-year-old family friend, turned out to be a match. After extensive testing, Scarborough went into surgery early Monday to donate a portion of his liver, followed by Ethan later in the morning. As of press time Monday, Scarborough was recovering well and Ethan was still in surgery.
“I asked Brady why he would do such an amazing thing,” said Ethan’s mother, Cynthia Prout. “He said, ‘Because I love Ethan.’ This is a tremendous sacrifice on Brady’s part — he’ll have a large scar on his body for life. Brady said he wants to get a tattoo in the form of an anchor, which is pretty much the shape of the scar. Brady’s liver will take about four months to grow back to its normal size and Ethan’s will grow to fit his body.”
Not all costs covered
While the expenses associated with the transplant itself are covered, exorbitant costs loom that will have to come out-of-pocket. Because Ethan has been diagnosed with methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a bacteria that is resistant to many antibiotics, he is not a candidate for the free recovery housing provided by the Ronald McDonald House. His family is forced to seek alternative housing in San Francisco for an estimated six weeks while Ethan is closely monitored as an outpatient post-surgery.
In addition to potentially expensive lodging, transportation costs and other expenses are already mounting quickly, Prout said, and Ethan has four siblings. The family needs to raise a minimum of $6,000, she added.
Additionally, Scarborough, a Grass Valley landscaper and father of three, will be unable to work during his six-week recovery.
He’s family now
“One of my big concerns is for Brady,” said Prout. “He’s going to need financial assistance. What do I say to someone who is having his stomach cut up and organ taken out? There are no words — he’s potentially saving my son’s life. Now we are officially family — if you put an organ in my child, you’re family.”
Two online fundraising pages have been set up for Ethan, his family and Scarborough. One is through the Children’s Organ Transplant Association, and the other through GoFundMe.com (see information box attached to this story).
Monday morning, before heading into surgery, a groggy Ethan just had one thing to say to his mom.
“I’m so grateful for this amazing gift from Brady,” he said.
To contact Staff Writer Cory Fisher, email her at Cory@theunion.com.
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