Plasma donations a constant need to save lives

Convalescent plasma needed to fight COVID-19
Posted at 5:26 PM, Jun 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-14 18:37:20-04

WACO, Texas — The need for blood plasma is constant. Donations are often used to help those going through cancer treatments, burn or trauma patients, or people with immune system disorders.

Megan Ryan was diagnosed with Common Variable Immune Deficiency about twenty years ago. She is now one of the thousands of people who rely on blood plasma donations.

"That donation of human plasma is transformed into a product that I infuse every week and it provides me with the antibodies that my body needs to have a fighting chance in this world," she told 25 News.

According to the American Red Cross, about 6,500 units of plasma are needed every single day in the US.

"There's a tremendous need, a tremendous unmet need and a lot of patients that require this for the duration of their lives," CSL Plasma Senior Medical Director Dr. Toby Simon said. "It's really important that we get enough plasma collected to meet all these needs."

The process is similar to donating blood, but takes a little longer. It separates red blood cells from plasma, then those red cells are returned to the donors body.

While every donation is very important, it takes multiple people to help patients like Megan.

"It takes more than 1,200 plasma donations to treat one hemophilia patient," Dr. Simon said. "It takes more than 900 to treat one alpha one patient and 130 to treat one primary immunodeficiency patient."

Megan said she is so thankful to all the strangers who already donate plasma and encourages others to consider making a donation to help people just like her.

"Every week when I spend about two hours of my Thursday evening infusing the product, I think about those donors who give up their time to give me life," she said. "It's very much a human to human connection."

Anyone between 18- and 75-years-old who weighs more than 110 pounds is eligible to donate. For more information on the process, you can visit the CSL Plasma website.