Hoping to help sickest COVID patients, metro woman has donated plasma 11 times since recovery

Tracking Coronavirus

OLATHE, Kan. — There is power in the blood.

That old hymn can also apply to donated blood components from recovered COVID-19 patients, especially the ones who carry strong antibodies to fight the virus.

The blood pumping through Janet Day’s body is a precious commodity.

It’s been a year since the grandmother of two visited her doctor with strong cold symptoms. At the time, metro physicians weren’t as familiar with the signs of COVID-19, and when Day’s symptoms got worse overnight, she was sent to intensive care for a week.

“It was surreal. I was very very sick,” Day said. “I called both of my kids, and I told them I wasn’t going to make it. I told them to pray.”

Day’s recovery since last April led doctors to discover strong antibodies in her blood cells. The convalescent plasma she carries has proven to be useful in helping the worst COVID cases to recover.

She’s now donated plasma 11 times. Doctors aren’t sure why the antibodies in her blood are so strong since they usually disappear from most patients after a few months. Day makes her donations at one of Community Blood Center’s Johnson County locations.

“I need to do anything I can to help people in this situation, so I signed up right away,” Day said on Friday. “It’s what we should do, I believe.”

Day said every time she donates convalescent plasma, it helps save the lives of 3-4 coronavirus patients. Dr. Lowelll Tilzer, a pathologist with St. Luke’s Health System, said some useful plasma types are also being created in laboratories, and can keep patients from needing intensive care.

“If you’re symptomatic, and if you’re in the age group, it’s probably best to call your physician, and get a one-hour infusion of these monoclonal antibodies so you’ll have a 70% reduction of gong to the hospital. That’s a big improvement,” Tilzer said.

Community Blood Center is actively searching for more donors. You can learn more about their donation programs at their website.

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