Nico Scholly's life changed forever last November when his younger brother Tristen passed away at the age of 21. It wasn't long after his brother's passing that Nico found some solace in returning to yachting and eventually starting a new season of Below Deck. "It was a little bit too hard for me to be in Chicago afterwards," Nico recently shared with The Daily Dish. "So I did, right after all this happens, all the madness and everything, I leapt back into yachting, and three months later I was working with Captain Lee [Rosbach] on Below Deck."
Nico said that experiencing a tragic loss like this did have an impact on his work aboard the Valor this season. "So you do just see me kind of maybe overreact, and I think some of that has to do with maybe poor judgment calls on my part because I'm emotionally dealing with something," Nico explained. "But it helps me being away for a bit. But being away also made me realize I want to be around my family, I want to be around my girlfriend, I want to be back home, and that's where I need to be right now."
Of course, performing the rigorous and demanding work of a senior deckhand was often a challenge for Nico as he grieved. "Every day was kind of sometimes just a struggle to get out of bed, and you're just like, 'Why am I here?' And you're dealing with so much more added stress because of the crew that it gets really overwhelming," Nico said. "But I was just like, 'You know what, I want to be here. I did have one goal, make as much money as I can, prove to Captain Lee that I deserve to be in a higher position than I'm in.' And so just having that goal and just shooting for that, I was trying to shoot over that and exceed it. I ended up really sticking through it."
These days, Nico said he and his family are doing well as they continue to honor Tristen's legacy with the Tristen Scott Foundation, which aims to help families with loved ones who have chosen to donate their organs, as Tristen did. "Obviously, you take it day by day. We started a foundation in his name. You know, it's just looking at life kind of a different way. You kind of go through life, some bad things, some good things happen to you, and you kind of take it for granted. But when something like that happens, you have to just kind of realize what's important," Nico said. "So I've been spending time in Chicago, kind of took a little hiatus from yachting, and just trying to be around, hanging out with my family."
Nico and his family are already seeing the impact of Tristen's decision to donate his organs. "We got a letter recently from one of the organ recipients and he was in a wheelchair. And he had some flesh-eating bacteria in his lungs and he got my brother's lungs," he shared. "And now he's back to snorkeling, riding bikes in Chicago, and it changed his whole entire life, and he's nothing but grateful. So it's really important to me."
In fact, the Below Deck yachtie has discovered that just opening up about his family tragedy has touched the lives of many people. "I didn't need to say anything. Even during the season, I don't need to say anything. It's no one's business what happens in my personal life. But I've had several people reach out to me that they've gone through something similar and that I'm doing something great about it and it's actually helped them and they're now kind of looking at what's happening with the show and the foundation. It's a relief for them," Nico said. "So even if it helps one person, that's fine. I think that's great."
Watch Nico open up about this difficult time to Captain Lee, below.