By Christy Peters, External Communications Manager, Northern Ohio Biomedical Services
May 13, 2020- Jillian O’Donnell lives in Columbus where she works as a registered nurse. She enjoys spending time with her family and taking her dog to fun places around the city. In March, Jillian experienced the sudden onset loss of her taste and smell. After talking with her sister, she discovered this was a new symptom being reported by COVID-19 patients. Because she is an essential worker, she decided to get tested before returning to work. Her test came back positive on March 25.
In coordination with the FDA, the Red Cross is seeking people who are fully recovered from the new coronavirus to sign up to donate plasma to help current COVID-19 patients. According to Jillian, when she heard about the process of giving convalescent plasma, it was a no-brainer to find out how and when she could donate. Jillian traveled two hours from Columbus to make her donation at an American Red Cross donation center in Akron, Ohio.
“As a nurse that works on a COVID-19 isolation unit, I have seen firsthand how this virus has negatively affected individuals,” said Jillian. “I am beyond thankful that I had very mild symptoms that I managed at home, on my own. I know that is not the case for many others.”
People who have fully recovered from COVID-19 have antibodies in their plasma that can attack the virus. This convalescent plasma is being evaluated as treatment for patients with serious or immediately life-threatening COVID-19 infections, or those judged by a healthcare provider to be at high risk of progression to severe or life-threatening disease.
“We are blessed to be survivors of this terrible virus and not everyone has that opportunity,” said Jillian. “Everyone deserves a fighting chance against this virus and donating plasma can give patients the opportunity to do that!”
Last week, two more convalescent plasma donor patients gave plasma to help others at our Akron blood donor center: Jane Krivos and Josh Nathaniel.
To participate, individuals must meet all regular blood donation requirements as well as others. To learn more and complete a donor request form, please visit www.RedCrossBlood.org/plasma4covid.
Photo credit: Eric Alves/American Red Cross