BANGOR – As coronavirus cases skyrocket in Maine, so does the need for blood and plasma donations.
“It’s out there, and people are dying,” said Chris Wolff about coronavirus.
Wolff, who lives in Topsham, has a unique perspective about the illness. She was one of the first 150 Mainers diagnosed with COVID-19 back in March.
“It wasn’t a horrible case compared to some that end up in the hospital on ventilators and things like that, but it definitely wiped me out,” Wolff said.
Luckily, she beat the virus. Then, she helped others do the same.
“It just seemed like a no-brainer to me,” Wolff said. “Why wouldn’t I do that?”
Through the American Red Cross, Wolff donated convalescent plasma, which for recovered patients contains COVID-19 antibodies.
The Red Cross uses that plasma to help current coronavirus patients fight the illness.
“Individuals who are battling this disease right now are counting on you to make time to donate,” said Mary Brant, communications manager for the Northern New England Region of the American Red Cross.
With the rise in COVID-19 cases comes a greater demand for plasma.
“Last month alone, we had more requests for convalescent plasma than any time since the pandemic began,” said Brant.
There are two ways recovered coronavirus patients can donate, either through a direct plasma donation process, which is available at Red Cross sites in Portland and Auburn, or through whole blood donations, which can be done at any donor center or blood drive.
“It really, truly is pretty seamless,” said Wolff of the donation process. “It’s no different than going to get your blood drawn.”
After she donated, Wolff says she received a message from the Red Cross that her plasma donation was used to help someone fighting COVID in Massachusetts.
“It’s such an easy thing to do that could potentially have a huge impact on someone else’s life,” Wolff said.
To learn more or to donate, visit RedCrossBlood.org/Plasma4COVID.
You can also donate through the Red Cross’ Bangor donor center, located at 900B Hammond Street.
“It can save a life,” said Wolff.