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PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — It’s odd for Jean Schaefer Holcomb to be at the 2018 Winter Olympics and not see her son, the legendary Steve Holcomb.
Steve Holcomb, a Park City native, was a longtime U.S. bobsledding star and three-time Olympian. He also battled a degenerative eye disease known as keratoconus and at just 37 years old, he died in May 2017.
“There was a whole part to Steven that was bigger than bobsled,” Schaefer Holcomb said. “And he cared very much about other people. He cared very much about people who had a similar eye condition.”
The Olympian’s vision eventually got so bad that he almost retired from the bobsledding until he met Dr. Brian Boxer Wachler from the Boxer Wachler Vision Institute of Beverly Hills, California.
The doctor performed an operation on Holcomb to help him regain his vision and that turned everything around and led to Olympic medals. Now, it’s leading to a foundation in Holcomb’s name to help raise money for others who need that same operation.
Both Boxer Wachler and Schaefer Holcomb are in Pyeongchang during the Winter Games to raise awareness for the Steven Holcomb Giving Vision Foundation.
“We’ve treated over a hundred people,” Boxer Wachler said. “We want to ramp that up. We want to reach as many people as we can because that was Steve’s wish.”
But Schaefer Holcomb also made the trip to let her son’s teammates competing without him know that he’s cheering for them every step of the way.
“I wanted to be here so maybe they felt his presence as well. That he’s with us,” she said.
For more information on the Steven Holcomb Giving Vision Foundation, click here.
For more Olympic coverage, visit the KSL TV website.