SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A South Dakota man who thought the coronavirus was fake now says he needs a double lung transplant to survive.
“I was a non-believer in this COVID stuff,” said 42-year-old Nathan Foote, of Sioux Falls. “If you would have asked me before this, I thought COVID was fake. But it’s not fake.”
The father of five posted a Facebook Live video that paints a grim picture of COVID-19.
“Just so you all know, this ain’t a joke. I’m not going home. I’m going to die in this room right here,” Foote said Monday in a video post.
Foote, a hip-hop artist whose stage name is “Crime Spree,” writes lyrics about his life, which has included gang involvement at a young age to prison at 16.
After spending 15 years behind bars for aggravated assault and drugs, Foote turned his life around.
“I’ve been eight years sober, eight years clean since the day I walked out of prison,” he said.
“We’ve been together 19 years, so I’ve seen the steps he’s taken, the improvements he’s made, the sobriety he has, the efforts he’s made as a father and a spouse,” said his wife, Angie.
The Footes have five children ranging in age from 7 to 17. The family thought they had put hard times behind them, then Nathan Foote contracted COVID-19 in October and developed pneumonia.
“The COVID really messed my lungs up,” he said. “The only thing I can explain it is, they’re scarred. My lungs are scarred.”
Doctors have told him that he needs a double lung transplant, but there is a shortage of lung donors, and COVID-19 has increased the demand for the procedure.
“They say even if I make the list, lungs are hard to come by,” Nathan Foote said. “They’re hard to come by so I could be waiting forever for a pair of lungs.”
“He doesn’t have forever,” his wife said.
Nathan Foote said if he doesn’t get new lungs within two months, he will die, and that’s what prompted him to send his message over Facebook to his family and friends.
“So now, I sit and wait. I wait for death to come. It’s like one of the hardest (expletive) in the world, man,” he said.
He said that because his time is limited, he’s had to prepare his family.
“I just thought I’d have a lot more time with them; a lot more years with them,” he said. “You can’t take it for granted, you know.”
His wife added: “Nathan had to have some very hard conversations with them, you know the ‘I love yous. I’m proud of you. I’m sorry I have to go so soon.'”
The couple is urging people to take COVID-19 seriously.
“Don’t think it won’t affect you, even though you’re healthy and otherwise have nothing wrong,” said Angie Foote. “It could take you down in a moment.”
Several COVID-19 patients in the U.S. have received double lung transplants, which can cost up to $1 million. A GoFundMe account has been set up for the Foote family.
“If I’m ever going to win the lottery, then this is the time,” Nathan Foote said. “Pray for me, man, that I get this transplant. I really need this transplant.”