On last night’s Survivor Cambodia, Jeff Probst woke Terry Deitz up in the middle of the night to tell him his son was in the hospital, and that his wife felt it was serious enough that Deitz come home. Naturally, Deitz jetted home.
As the program aired, most fans were in the dark as to the circumstances, but Deizt had previously posted “Here’s to our son Danny and to all the friends and family who prayed for him. Although it was not the outcome we were hoping for, Danny will be one of the privileged few to be put on the heart transplant list. As with everything he has done so far in life, he will handle this with grace…courage…and honor. We are so proud to be his parents.”
At the conclusion of the program, Jeff Probst told us that Deitz’s son did receive a heart transplant is doing well.
Deitz explained the experience to Emily Longeretta of Hollywood Life:
“Basically, he walked me about 100 yards down the beach, and I’m thinking — whenever Probst shows up, it’s never good. I thought something had happened to my mom or my mother-in-law because they’re both elderly. When he said my son was in ICU, it just scared the living crap out of me. Without your family, it’s nothing. You just need to get home. I put on my mission face — I didn’t know much more than what you saw on TV. As soon as we got on the boat, Jeff gave me his phone to call my wife. I found out Danny had an enlarged heart, cardiomyopathy, similar to what you see athletes get who collapse on the field. Luckily my wife saw some symptoms — after his last lacrosse game, she pulled him off lacrosse field and said that’s it. No doctors had picked it up. A couple days after I left, it all went down. He had issues with all of his organs. She ordered X-Rays, and they found no fluid in his lungs, but that he had an enlarged heart. The doctor basically said to my wife, ‘You’re not going on vacation.’ He went to the ER then to Boston’s Children’s Hospital. The Survivor team was just fabulous at getting me back to Boston.”
Deitz says people can go visit childrenshospital.org/dannystrong. “That’s where to go to look at the fund, and look at everything, the number one pediatric cardio wing in the world. You’ll see his story and a lot of other ones, I’m sure. You’ll see him talk about it, and the doctors, and all that business.”
Originally, Deitz had prepared for a long wait for a transplant but that wait ended after just two months.
“I get a call like 7:30 in the morning and we’re like, let’s do this,” says Deitz.
The surgery lasted about seven hours and was considered a success. For now, Deitz is taking it easy and slowing regaining his strength.
He walks around his neighborhood, wears a mask to protect from getting sick, and takes medications to further help prevent the heart from being rejected. On Friday, he felt well enough to return to the football field, at least to watch the game against New Britain.
“It feels great. I wish I could be playing. Just being around the team is great,” says Deitz.
Deitz says he was blown away by the support of his community. He hopes to return to school next semester.
Terry Deitz, a former pilot, returned for a second shot of winning the $1 million cash prize in “Survivor: Cambodia – Second Chance.” Terry still proved to be one of the strongest players in the game, despite arriving in Cambodia as the oldest man in both tribes.
Next time on Survivor… The merge is coming and Chaos Kass is back.