Plain City resident Jennifer Middendorf is an insurance professional, wife and mother of two daughters in volleyball and softball. She is also a long-time type A positive blood donor, giving regularly through her work sponsored blood drives.
In July, after returning home from a socially distanced vacation, Jennifer became ill and tested positive for COVID-19, along with her husband and one daughter. Her second daughter remained negative for the virus. “My husband, our 10-year old, and I were all positive,” Jennifer said. “The hardest part was my healthy daughter who never contracted was quarantined nearly a month.” The Middendorf family is thankful to those who supported them through the illness. “We are grateful to friends, neighbors, and family that dropped off meals that allowed us to keep the kitchen and house sanitized to help make sure our daughter didn’t contract the virus.”
Jennifer was hospitalized during part of her illness. That’s when she became aware of an initiative through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help treat critically ill COVID-19 patients with plasma transfusions from donors who are fully recovered from the virus. “When I was hospitalized and on the COVID floor, you couldn’t help but hear just how sick many were on the floor. Nurses described plasma as the primary treatment for those most ill,” she said.
After recovering, Jennifer signed up to be a COVID-19 convalescent plasma donor. “If two hours of my time can help someone else, why wouldn’t I donate plasma?” On September 25, she gave her first plasma donation. Jennifer encourages others who may qualify to become donors, too. “It’s relatively painless, and the nurses are wonderful!” she said. “We look for ways to make this come to an end and get back to some degree of normal life. Help out your fellow neighbor, wear a mask and donate to make sure we don’t lose more people unnecessarily. This is purely a time for selflessness to take the front row.”
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. 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. 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.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.