The promo showed Jeff Probst visiting one tribe at night, which is never a good thing. We heard Kass McQuillen say having someone go home like this is worse than anything you can imagine in "Survivor." And when Chaos Kass gets emotional you know things are serious.
They showed it at the start of the episode, on Day 13 of the game. Terry Deitz, 55, of "Survivor: Panama" was pulled from the game when his son Danny was said to be seriously ill and hospitalized. Terry's wife called production and, when Jeff told Terry what happened, Terry immediately decided to leave.
It turns out that Danny needed a heart transplant but the good news is that he got it and he's now on the mend but OK.
Here are some tweets from Terry, posted back in July:
My son just survived 39 days in Boston Childrens Hospital. How ironic is that! http://t.co/doqVky6JEy
— Terry Deitz (@deitz_terry) July 27, 2015
Play with your kids....Do it today!
— Terry Deitz (@deitz_terry) July 27, 2015
— Terry Deitz (@deitz_terry) July 28, 2015
Here's a portion of a story from NBC Connecticut posted on September 11, which Terry retweeted the next day:
The Simsbury High School football team played Friday's game in honor of teammate Danny Deitz, who received a lifesaving heart transplant less than 24 hours prior.
Danny, 16, a wide receiver, suffered complications from an enlarged heart and missed pre-season after falling ill last spring. He's now recovering from a heart transplant at Boston Children's Hospital. [...] Football coach Dave Masters tweeted an update on Danny's condition early Friday after the hours-long transplant was complete. "Danny update: New heart is in and moving to ICU within the hour. Keep positive thoughts & prayers coming!" he wrote.
Danny has weeks of recovery and then it could be months before he returns to school. [...] But Danny has already been fortunate: the two-month wait for a new hart was much shorter than expected. The life-saving surgery came in time for his birthday, just two weeks away."
And here's a recent video of Danny heading back onto the field in October:
Danny Deitz being honored, walking on field for coin toss for Simsbury vs New Britain. pic.twitter.com/ZTnrkkd5W2
— Matt Austin (@mattaustinTV) October 9, 2015
NBC updated with an October 9 story on Danny's recovery:
...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.
"I'm still grateful for everyday I'm alive," says Deitz.
Terry Deitz isn't much of a tweeter, but on October 24 he did reply to a fan with a positive update:
@ZSosna Thank you so much! Dans doing great and about to launch the Danny Strong Fund at the Boston Childrens Hospital
— Terry Deitz (@deitz_terry) October 25, 2015
Terry also updated to People after his elimination episode aired. "Danny is doing extremely well. We spent 79 days in the hospital, and he got a transplant. The new heart is pumping like a champ. He was at Children's Hospital for a clinic on Tuesday, and he returns every two weeks to get a catheter in his neck. His immune system is being squashed so that it doesn't attack the foreign body – his new heart. But everything about the heart is working wonderfully. It's amazing, and hopefully he'll keep this heart in him for years."
Best wishes to the Deitz family on Danny's continued recovery. It's a shame that Terry had to leave the game of "Survivor," but the family is winning the fight in real life. Danny is the real "Survivor" but not the "sole survivor" because he has so much support. Stay strong!
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