SWFL man, family heal from coronavirus, looks to help others

Reporter: Anika Henanger Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Buddy Smith speaks to WINK News Reporter Anika Henanger via video chat. Credit: WINK News.

We spoke to a man who feels much better after contracting coronavirus, all while living with two pre-existing conditions.

Buddy Smith, his wife and his 91-year-old mother-in-law all tested positive for COVID-19 and are now on the mend.

Smith now wants to give back and give other people a chance to survive by donating plasma if he is a viable candidate. A heart surgery survivor, diabetic and in his late seventies, Smith recovered from COVID-19 and beat the statistics. And he hopes he can help others do it too.

Smith and his family live in Cape Coral, and that’s where he spoke to us from on the phone. We asked him how everyone is feeling since they reached recovery status.

“We’re feeling well enough to fight with each other now,” Smith said.

But just a few weeks ago, they were all fighting the coronavirus.

“I felt a little off, and, every once in a while, I’d get a slight headache,” Smith said. “My wife was very sick; she’d cough and cough until she’d gag and vomit. And my mother-in-law had it, and she’s 91.”

Smith rushed his mother-in-law to the hospital, where she stayed for four days. At home, he took care of his wife while sick himself.

“We just hung in there until it passed,” Smith said.

Now, they’re all recovering.

“We’re lucky,” Smith said. “I’ll be 76 in July. I have underlying conditions, and I made it through”

But someone they love did not.

“We lost a good friend, “Big” Mike,” Smith said. “He’s a wonderful man, huge guy. Everybody loved him. He got real sick. He ended up on a respirator and everything, and he finally died.”

It’s a painful loss Smith doesn’t want others to ever feel if he can help it. He’s hoping to donate plasma, a possible treatment option containing antibodies taken from the blood of fully-recovered patients.

“I wish the plasma had been available when “Big” Mike was sick,” Smith said.

Smith is working on making an appointment to get a negative test result to indicate he’s fully recovered and possibly able to donate plasma. He’s asking anyone like himself to please do the same.

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