Every two weeks, I drive twenty minutes from my home to give blood. Over the course of an hour, the kindest care providers indulge me when I share my latest ‘dad joke’ or brag about a new recipe. And then I drive home, to come back again two weeks later.
And I’ll do this until they make me stop.
I’ve been giving blood for years….dozens of times over the course of my life. But these days it’s different. It’s to give people with COVID-19 a better chance at life.
During a family vacation to California in March, I noticed my sense of smell and taste was limited – a telltale sign of COVID-19, I was told. While I had no other symptoms over the course of my travels and in the weeks to follow, I am a keenly curious person – so I decided to get tested.
Positive. My curiosity immediately turned to fear.
But as my emotions ebbed and flowed, my fear turned to gratefulness, and that gratefulness turned to action: How can I be part of the solution?
Early studies indicate that transfused Convalescent Plasma, found in the blood serum of COVID-19 positive individuals, may improve outcomes of those with active infection, including keeping them off ventilators. By giving of myself, I could potentially save lives. What a humbling notion.
Humbling, too, is that Anthem is helping reach more people to join in. In recent months, a coalition of leading organizations – from Mayo Clinic to LabCorp to the XPRIZE Foundation – have come together to support the rapid development of potential new therapies for patients with COVID-19. Working together under the “The Fight Is In Us” campaign, the coalition seeks to mobilize tens of thousands of people in the United States who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate their blood plasma. And with Anthem’s help raising awareness of the need among those COVID-19 survivors from our population, we can play a role to help increase enrollment.
The campaign’s urgent goal is to recruit COVID-19 survivors within two months of their recovery to ensure that their blood plasma contains a robust enough concentration of COVID-19 antibodies to have a positive effect. Individuals who have recovered from COVID-19, or know someone who has, can visit TheFightIsInUs.org to understand if they may be eligible to donate and find a nearby blood or plasma donor center.
So why do I insist on donating plasma until they make me stop? I do it for my kids, for my aging parents and for everyone out there fighting for hope and solutions. The fight for a solution is in all of us…and even more powerful when we work together.