Local couple battling COVID-19 urging recovered patients to donate plasma

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB)–Coronavirus patients across the country are filling our ICU’s, trying to catch their breaths and hoping to recover. One local couple knows this struggle all too well. On June 22nd, Dallas and Debra Smalley both tested positive for COVID-19.

“Four days later we were in the emergency room with him having trouble breathing and high fever,” said Debra Smalley.

Dallas was later admitted to the ICU at Bay Medical where he currently remains nearly 18 days later.

“It’s been devastating. Had the medications and plasma been available, maybe he wouldn’t have had to suffer so much,” said Smalley.

According to the Mayo Clinic, plasma donations from recovered COVID-19 patients may help treat severe cases. The antibodies in the blood appear to help patients fight off the virus.

“People need to donate their antibodies once they’re clear to do so. It could save their son, it could save their daughter, their husband, their wife, their parents, their friends,” said Smalley.

After learning about plasma therapy, Debra took to social media, sharing her message and searching for a donor.

“We’ve got friends in Tokyo sharing, friends in Amsterdam sharing. All over the world. All over the country,” said Smalley.

While Debra’s husband is now on track to receive plasma, she’s asking the public to keep donating.

Plasma donation center, OneBlood, says donating is easy and that there is is a shortage so they need help meeting the current demand.

“We need a confirmed positive that they had coronavirus from the lab or hospital saying they had it, and they need to be 14 days symptom free,” said Susan Forbes, the Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications for OneBlood.

OneBlood says they are able to process direct donations; meaning you can donate for a specific person as long as you’re a match. When you donate, you’re not just helping one person.

“One plasma donation can go up to 3 people,” said Forbes.

To learn how to donate, visit www.oneblood.org.

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