In an emotional video shared on his Instagram page in mid-March, Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns revealed that his mother, Jacqueline Cruz, was in a medically-induced coma after falling ill with coronavirus symptoms. The Timberwolves center said both his mother and father, Karl-Anthony Towns Sr., fell ill prior to being tested. His father, however, was discharged from the hospital and felt better. While Cruz's current prognosis is not known, the University of Kentucky's John Calipari, Towns' former college head coach, revealed Monday in a Facebook video that Towns' mother is still hospitalized and in the ICU while she fights the disease.
"I would say to everybody out there ... Ms. Jackie, Karl Towns' mother, is still in that hospital. She's fighting, she's there, we get updates, every single day we get an update from Karl Sr. about how she's doing from the nurses at the ICU. Keep praying for her. Send her unbelievably positive thoughts. I just can't wait until she gets out of that hospital. But it's been a tough road."
While his father was fortunately spared the worst impacts of COVID-19, his mother's condition worsened to the point where doctors put her on a ventilator before placing her into a coma. Towns noted that neither parent had received the results of their COVID-19 test yet as of the filming of the video.
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Sharing my story in the hopes that everyone stays at home! We need more equipment and we need to help those medical personnel on the front lines. Thank you to the medical staff who are helping my mom. You are all the true heroes! Praying for all of us at this difficult time.
"She just wasn't getting better," a visibly emotional Towns said. "Her fever wasn't cutting from 103. It'd maybe go down to 101.9 with the meds then immediately spike back up during the night. She was very uncomfortable. Her lungs were getting worse, cough was getting worse. She was deteriorating in front of our eyes.
"We always felt the next medicine would help or the next one would help. This is the one that's going to get it done."
Towns had been communicating with his mother on a daily basis. The Timberwolves star said that she was improving, but then "things went sideways quick."
"Her lungs were getting worse and she was having trouble breathing," Towns added. "They were just explaining to me she had to be put on a ventilator. She was getting worse and she was confused by everything and I'm trying to talk to her about everything, encouraging her to stay positive. I talked through everything with her."
Towns recently donated $100,000 to the Mayo Clinic in an effort to help funding for coronavirus testing before his mother got sick.
"My mother, she's the strongest woman I know and I know she'll beat this," Towns said. "We're going to rejoice when she does."
An emotional Towns made it a point in the video to preach social distancing and highlight how dangerous the outbreak is.
"This disease needs not to be taken lightly," Towns said of COVID-19. "Please protect your families, your loved ones, your friends, yourself. Practice social distancing. Please don't be in places with a lot of people. This disease is deadly. We're going to keep fighting."