IOWA – Health officials say now it is more important than ever to quit smoking. That’s because it makes you more susceptible to contracting COVID-19.
April Wilson is thankful she kicked the habit last year, saving her own life as well as her mother’s.
“I tried everything in the past, like literally everything,” Wilson explained. “Just my mom’s diagnosis and a whole lot of faith made it so easy.”
That diagnosis was liver disease, and her mom MaryLou Walker needed a transplant. In order for April to be the donor, she needed to be smoke-free.
Wilson quit smoking and the transplant took place last October at Mayo Clinic. She learned the lifestyle change not only saved her mother’s life, but her own.
“It was for both of us,” Wilson said. “I have a whole new appreciation for my mom, like just knowing what she went through actually in turn made me a better person. And hopefully is not just giving her more life, but giving me more life too.”
Both are currently in good health. Wilson said her liver has regenerated and her lungs have healed significantly after quitting smoking. Walker said her doctors see no signs of transplant rejection.
The pair hope their story will encourage others.
“I think it’s an inspiration that April could do it cold turkey,” Walker said. “I don’t know how she did it, because I’ve watched her go through different types of treatments to stop herself from smoking. And I’m just so grateful that she did this for me.”
Thursday, Nov. 19 marks the “Great American Smokeout,” an initiative from the American Cancer Society to encourage people to stop smoking.
For resources to help you quit smoking, click here.