LAKE MARY, Fla. - At just 22 years old, Walker McKnight is in need of double-lung and kidney transplants. Without them, his doctors say he only has 18 months to live. It is all because of vaping, according to his family.
He says his vaping habit started just before his freshman year of college.
McKnight was a healthy cheerleader on a full scholarship at Florida Atlantic University until he got sick. It started as the flu, but when he didn't get better, he came home to Orlando. He was diagnosed with pneumonia that developed into lung and kidney failure. He was put into a medically-induced coma and spent months in the hospital.
"Spending five months in a medically induced coma in the ICU is awful," he told FOX 35 News in a previous interview. "Looking over at your shoulder and seeing two garden hose-sized tubes going into your chest and learning a machine is doing the work of your lungs and heart."
Hospital bills have topped $7 million, and now Walker and his family have learned that he has less than two years to live if he does not get the transplants. His mother, Candace, has teamed up with the National Transplant Foundation, starting a Go Fund Me page to raise money for Walker's post-transplant treatments.
"The cost of medicines can be thousands, every single month, that are not covered by insurance," she explains.
The Oviedo resident says she wants to thank those who have reached out so far.
"We live in a great town. They really put their arms around my family. But the journey is not over. We have another battle ahead of us."
Visit their Go Fund Me page to support Walker's recovery.