COLORADO SPRINGS — During the COVID-19 pandemic plasma donation centers say they're coming up short. The donations are needed to make medications for people who have immune deficiencies. News5 learned plasma donations are one way to help the most vulnerable and your budget.
If you are someone who can use some extra cash to manage that financial stress, have you considered plasma donation? There's a serious need and medical experts believe you could possibly provide a life saving treatment even for someone battling coronavirus.
"CSL collects plasma to make medications for people with clotting disorders such as hemophilia for primary immune deficiency disorders such as hereditary angioedema and then we also do a lot with burn victims, transplants," Colorado Springs CSL Plasma Manager Amanda Cvitkovich said. "We were meeting our goals and exceeding our goals before COVID-19. Since then we've dropped."
Cvitkovich says right now the plasma center is seeing about 200 donations a week, but needs 2,000 a week to meet the needs of patients who rely on the plasma, which is the liquid part of the blood
"It's so important that we have these donations coming through because it takes over a thousand donations to treat one adult patient for a year," Cvitkovich said.
Jenny Gardner is one of those patients who relies on plasma meds. She has an immune deficiency and needs the plasma to keep her immune system strong.
"It supplies me with what my body doesn't give me. I tell everybody that I live off of everybody else's immune system," Gardner said.
CSL says it is practicing social distancing and wearing masks. Once approved through a screening process donors are also paid for their plasma.
"I get very emotional because I am looking in the eyes of people who are making a difference not just for me but for other patients," Gardner said.
Douglas Hirthe is an experienced plasma donor who says helping others and bringing home some extra cash is what a lot of people need right now.
"The money's not too bad you know," said Hirthe. In this hard time every little bit helps. I mean whether it's $30, $60 or like the sign says $400, that's a bill, or that's groceries."
CSL Plasma has also added a program in the fight against COVID-19, looking for donors who have recovered from the virus.
"We currently have a convalescent plasma program where we are collecting plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19, or have the antibody for COVID-19 to develop a hyper immune product to treat the pandemic," Cvitkovich said.
During these uncertain times donors say being able to help others is what keeps them coming back.
"We can beat COVID-19 with not being afraid and being together as a community," Hirthe said.
CSL Plasma has more than 250 locations nationwide including at least seven locations across Colorado.
Resources and Information on Plasma Donation:
CSL Plasma Colorado Springs location: (719) 284-3258
Children's Hospital Colorado among the first to collect convalescent plasma for coronavirus patients:
Frequently asked questions and information about plasma donation from Mayo Clinic: