Health & Wellness

Following heart transplant, teenager gets surprise photo op with MLB superstar

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While at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City in early 2020, 13-year-old Bryson Quinney waited for the gift of life: a new heart. After waiting for more than a month, Bryson got the heart and slowly worked in his new organ.

“I’m feeling good now with my transplant,” the now 14-year-old said to FOX 13 on Monday afternoon.

Bryson, who is from Wyoming, had been recovering from his transplant and hasn’t taken a trip in years due to his health conditions and the pandemic.

This past weekend, Bryson and his family traveled to San Diego, California for a Padres game and a trip to his dad’s hometown.

“He’s missed out on a couple years of being able to play basketball, play baseball,” said Eric Quinney, Bryson’s father. “He’s missed out on so much because of his health.”

Bryson got decked out in his Padres gear. His mom suggested making a sign to hold up at the game, which included his “bucket list.”

“I did not expect anything. I just thought, ‘Everyone makes a sign so my chances are super slim,’ but no, I had no clue that was going to happen,” said Bryson.

His sign listed three items, with checkmarks next to the first two. The first read “Heart transplant,” the second read “Fly to San Diego for a game,” and the third line, with a box unchecked, read “Picture with Fernando Tatis Jr.”

Tatis Jr., one of the most decorated players in Major League Baseball, will start at shortstop for the National League in this year’s Major League Baseball All-Star game this week. Bryson held up the sign at the game, and Tatis Jr. responded.

“He came up to me and goes, ‘So you had a heart transplant,’ and I said ‘Yeah,’ and he gave me knuckles. ‘So you’re doing good now,’ and I said ‘Yeah,’ and he turned around and got a picture with me,” Bryson said.

A San Diego Padres photographer captured the interaction between Bryson and the MLB Superstar, which has now taken off on social media.

“The picture that the Padres posted, just the smile on Bryson’s face and the genuine look from Fernando towards Bryson, I just thought it was a really neat connection and captured the moment just perfectly,” said Eric, who also snapped some pictures. “Even though it was just a minute or two, it certainly meant the world and will be a lasting memory for a lifetime for sure.”

The moment between Bryson and Fernando made its rounds. The CEO of the Padres sent Eric an email after the game and invited them back to the ballpark the next night to sit in his seats and to give Bryson a special gift: a personalized signed baseball from Fernando to Bryson.

After the whirlwind of a weekend, Bryson and his family came back to Salt Lake City for their monthly check-up at Primary Children’s Hospital. The special weekend for Bryson wouldn’t have been possible without the donation that gave him the gift of life.

To learn more about becoming an organ donor in Utah, click here.

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