Olympic Trip Turned Nightmare For Idaho Couple

RATHDRUM, Idaho — It started out as a trip to a foreign land, a chance to see their son compete in Beijing Summer Olympics, but suddenly priorities changed for one North Idaho couple.

Like all parents, Ron and Susan Waltz of Rathdrum like to brag about their kids.

“My son Ian is a WSU graduate and he’s been an Olympian twice now,” said Susan.

Their 32-year-old son is Olympian Ian Waltz, his specialty is discus.

Last summer Ian got the call to compete in the Beijing Olympics, his parents made it a point to travel to China to show their support.

“My son has a goal to win a gold medal, so we were pumped up and ready to go,” said Ron.

As Ron and Susan made their way to China, something went terribly wrong. Ron became very sick.

“We were just so afraid,” said Susan. “We didn’t know what was going on, we wanted to just be back home.”

Instead of watching their son compete against some of the best athletes in the world, they spent their time in China at the hospital.

“He spent two weeks in the hospital in China being treated with massive doses of pain killers and steroids, anything they could do to help him,” said Susan.

With Ron still in pain, the Waltz’s finally made it back home to Rathdrum. It was there that Ron’s condition worsened. Surgery revealed a serious health problem.

“A portion of his lower colon had died and had been dead for quite sometime,” said Susan.

That was eight months ago, now Ron is recovering but can’t work.

Three months ago Susan returned to her job, but financially it’s still a struggle. Bills are forcing her and Ron to sell the dream house they built.

Despite the rough road they’ve traveled, the Waltz’s are thankful for the outpouring of support they’ve received in the past year, but more is on the way.

“When you’re a giver — it feels so good to give, but when you’re on the receiving end, it’s just so humbling and you feel you don’t deserve it,” said Susan.

Friends have organized a fundraising auction and dinner to benefit Ron Waltz. The event takes place Sunday, April 5th from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Lake City Senior Center in Coeur d’Alene. Those interested in buying tickets can call (509) 290-2152.