ORLANDO, Fla. – An Orlando couple wants to warn parents about the dangers of vaping after their 20-year-old son was hospitalized with a vaping-related illness.
Dave and Candy McKnight said their son Walker was a healthy athlete on a full cheer scholarship to Florida Atlantic University when he became addicted to vaping.
"He would tell us, 'Dad everybody is doing it, what's up with that,' what's the big deal,'" Dave McKnight said.
In late March, Dave McKnight said his son contracted adenovirus, known as a common virus. He said the affects of vaping made it difficult to recover from the virus and a bad case of pneumonia.
"The alarm went off when I saw him. I tell you, I knew right away this was not normal," Dave McKnight said.
While in the intensive care unit the McKnights said the young patient began to spiral downward as they stood by his side around the clock.
"He went into acute respiratory failure where he was no longer oxygenating anything, he was dying," his father said. "Lights were on in the room, pastors being called in to pray over our child, his stats are dropping," Candy McKnight said.
The athlete spent months in the hospital undergoing multiple exams and operations. Candy McKnight said she was aware her son was vaping but didn't know to what extent.
McKnight said doctors believe Walker's addiction to vaping contributed to his inability to recover.
Walker McKnight is recovering at home now, but has made trips to the hospital as a result of breathing complications.
His mother said he is on dialysis as his left lung is recovering.
"No parent should ever have to go through what we have watched in our kid. No one, and that is the only reason we are in front of these cameras talking to you today," Candy McKnight said.
We have attached a link to the McKnight's GoFundMe account to help with medical expenses.