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Southwest Orange Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019 2 years ago

Family fighting vape company following son's death

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The Boyd family in the Horizon West area wants everyone to know the dangers of vaping after they lost one of their sons to the addictive practice.
by: Amy Quesinberry Community Editor

This Thanksgiving, Kyle Boyd's family is choosing to celebrate the life of the 28-year-old animal lover, bookworm and Gator fan. His parents, his younger brother and sisters and other family members are preparing to gather to give thanks for their blessings, but their mind won't be far from their son and brother, who died Nov. 16 of what hospital officials suspect is a vaping-induced lung injury and pneumonia.

The Boyds, who live in the Horizon West area, now are on a crusade to spread their son's story and shut down the vaping industry. Donald Boyd knew his son was vaping, but he had told his dad he was trying to stop.

"In his mind, it was better than smoking cigarettes," he said.

"That was his vice to help him stay clean and live a better life," Kathryn Cook, his stepmother, said.

The family believes it's actually what killed him. An Advent Health East report said Kyle Boyd's toxicology report was negative for any illicit substances.

 

FINDING HIS WAY

Donald Boyd said his son was a happy-go-lucky child who was into sports and good in school. Stepmother Kathryn Cook said after graduating from Timber Creek High School, he attended college and got involved with drugs. With a college degree in hand, Kyle Boyd moved to West Palm Beach and entered himself into a drug-rehabilitation facility — and when he finished the program, the company hired him to help others, Cook said.

Kyle Boyd recently had returned to Orlando and was about to start a new job. His father said he was struggling but used only his vape pen to relieve stress.

"The vaping was becoming more and more involved in his life," he said. "You could see it through the progression of pictures that we have."

The two had a recent conversation about his vaping habit, and Donald Boyd told his son he didn't look good.

 

HIS FINAL DAY

Kyle Boyd went to bed at his mother's house Monday, Nov. 11, and never woke up. His mother, Kimberly Boyd, discovered him lying unconscious, his vape pen next to him. He went into cardiac arrest twice, officials said, and despite all attempts to revive him, he never regained consciousness.

"It comes on really quick," his dad said. "We believe he went to bed and he went into a deep sleep and he lost the ability to breathe and it sent his body into this event (with) seizures.

"When I saw my son's X-rays, I didn't think his lungs were there; they were just whited out," Donald Boyd said, describing the chemical burn. "I cannot believe how damaged they were. ... They could not force oxygen into him."

The family kept their son on life support until his organs could be harvested. They were told his heart was transplanted in a person in Georgia, his liver and kidneys were given to three Floridians, and his corneas improved the eyesight of four people.

Kyle Boyd never gained consciousness after being rushed to the hospital Nov. 12.

Kyle Boyd was a giver, the family said, and he went out of his way to help people, so there is comfort in knowing that he would have wanted to donate his organs so others can live.

Had his son lived, Donald Boyd said, he would have needed a double lung transplant.

"What people don't understand is that the damage is done," he said. "It can't be undone. I dare anyone who vapes a lot to get a chest X-ray. They will probably be amazed at the damage they have caused."

 

THE BATTLE BEGINS

Kyle Boyd was using a Vuse Alto vape pen, manufactured by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company.

"Basically, what you're doing is heating up a vegetable oil and sucking it into your lungs," Donald Boyd said. "(The manufacturers) make it out like they have the best ingredients. There's no dosage. They say smoking is bad for you (and smokers) can transition to vaping and then to nothing. But it's turned into a transition from smoking into just vaping the hell out of it.

"We're made to believe these companies are doing us a favor when actually they're looking to make money," Donald Boyd said. "And the big hook is nicotine."

It's time to take a harder look at what the vaping companies are doing and to investigate into their claims and safety, he said.

The Boyds intend to join in a national class-action lawsuit and likely will move forward with a wrongful death suit.

"This isn't about money, this is about changing the perception of what vaping is, this is about regulation that we currently have in place, this is about protecting our children from vaping products, it's about getting schools more involved in not allowing vaping on campus," Donald Boyd said.

"We've got to stop this," Cook said.

Kyle Boyd's funeral was Friday, Nov. 22. The family has asked that donations be made to their son's memorial fund with the Matthew's Hope homeless outreach program.

Kyle Boyd was about to start a new job and was getting his life in order just before his death, said his dad, Donald Boyd.

 

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Amy Quesinberry is the community editor of the West Orange Times & Observer and the Windermere Observer. She was born and raised in Winter Garden, grew up reading the community newspaper and has been employed there as a writer, photographer and editor since 1990....

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