It’s no secret that the holidays look much different this year, but those changes may be even more noticeable for individuals who are at high-risk for COVID-19. No one knows this better than Dayna, a mother and caregiver to four children with a rare disease which has caused them to be immune compromised. This leads to an increased chance of an infection, which may be harder to fight off. A diagnosis can be difficult, but once identified, treatments are available, such as therapies developed from plasma. While Dayna and her children — Charlie (20), Kate (18), Thomas (16) and Grace (8) — are taking extra safety precautions this holiday season, the pandemic hasn’t stopped them from raising awareness of the urgency for new plasma donations that will make their therapies possible.
When her children were diagnosed with their rare disease, Dayna was not prepared for a life that revolved around frequent illnesses and near-constant medical appointments. Once her children started on a plasma-based immunoglobulin therapy regimen, she found renewed hope for her family’s future.
“Plasma-based therapies allow my children to live relatively normal lives, from traveling (pre-pandemic) to going to college — something I never thought would be a reality for them,” said Dayna. “Our kids are no longer defined by their disease; for that we are beyond grateful for every single plasma donor.”
Many may be surprised to learn that plasma — the clear, straw-colored liquid portion of your blood — is a lifeline for thousands of people with rare, chronic and complex diseases. Because plasma cannot be produced in a lab, those who rely on continuous therapies developed from plasma are dependent on other people regularly donating plasma. Recently, the need for plasma donations has become more well-known. The plasma from individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 and now have antibodies to the virus is being used in the development of a potential treatment for COVID-19.
It takes over 500 plasma donations to make a year’s supply of medicine for Dayna’s children, as this resource provides the steady infusion of missing antibodies they need. Dayna’s family is incredibly grateful for the dedication of plasma donors everywhere and they make it a point to visit donation centers regularly to share their gratitude. Unfortunately, they can’t do that this year, in person at least.
Dayna has a message for those who are considering donating their plasma. “The holidays bring people and communities together to enjoy time with family and friends, and I encourage everyone to think of others during these unprecedented times and consider donating plasma. Your kind and generous donation can help change lives, including my kids’.”
How you can help
In the spirit of giving, BioLife Plasma Services will make a donation to Feeding America in honor of people who donate plasma during this holiday season. BioLife is grateful to all individuals who choose to give their time to donate plasma and help provide a healthier holiday season to those who are living with a rare disease.
The need for plasma never goes away for those living with rare and chronic conditions. Plasma gives people living with immune deficiencies the chance to be like everyone else and celebrate the little moments that make the holidays magical. During a single morning or afternoon visit, you can get screened and easily donate plasma to help those in your community.
BioLife Plasma Services has more than 130 state-of-the-art plasma donation centers across the United States. To learn more about BioLife, the donation process and how to schedule an appointment, visit www.biolifeplasma.com.
BioLife Plasma Services is part of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited.