Paige Fallon, from Powell, Ohio, is a student at University of South Carolina. She loves to travel, which led her to enroll in college out of state, and eventually to enroll in an international studies program in Europe. She left the U.S. in January of this year, but her time overseas was cut short as she had to return home due to the growing pandemic concerns. After returning home, she grew ill and eventually tested positive for COVID-19 on March 20. After several weeks of quarantine, she fully recovered.
That’s when she became aware of a new initiative through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help treat critically ill COVID-19 patients with plasma transfusions form donors who are fully recovered from the virus. She had never donated blood or plasma before, but she immediately signed up to help.
“I felt compelled to help,” Paige said. “I also knew that I was one of the first people to be diagnosed with the virus in the state of Ohio, so testing negative in order to donate was more in my favor than in a lot of others.” Paige was able to give her plasma donation with the American Red Cross on April 21.
Paige says the process to donate was a smooth one. “The doctors along with the staff members of the Red Cross were very attentive through the whole process making it a quick start to finish process.”
Knowing how important this treatment may be for some patients, Paige encourages others to register to donate. “I would encourage others to donate simply because this is a time when so many people are looking for a light at the end of a tunnel – whether it be struggling with a loss or struggling to stay hopeful during a time when hope is almost non-existent. So, be that light at the end of the tunnel, be the hope that someone longs for.”
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.