Published on September 25, 2020

Leah Hawks of Pontotoc Made Her First Convalescent Plasma Donation at Vitalant This Week. 

Leah HawksLeah Hawks of Pontotoc made her first convalescent plasma donation at Vitalant this week. NMMC is working with Vitalant on collecting convalescent plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19 as part of a program to treat critically ill patients infected with the virus. This FDA-sponsored investigation includes emergency use of a special blood product containing antibodies that may give patients an extra boost to fight the virus.

 “I decided to donate plasma because my husband's grandfather lost his battle with COVID-19 in July,” Leah says. “His doctors wanted him to receive plasma, but I'm not sure he was ever able to get it before he passed. If I am able to donate to prevent someone else's family member from having to wait, I'll do whatever I can.” In addition to being an occupational therapist at NMMC-Pontotoc, Leah holds the title of Mrs. Calhoun County and will soon be competing in the Mrs. Mississippi pageant.

Patients at NMMC who are severely ill from COVID-19 are eligible to receive plasma from patients who have already recovered. While the treatment is investigational, it shows promise.

“If you or someone you know has had COVID-19 and is now at least 28 days out, please look into donating!” Leah says. “I’ve heard amazing things from patients about how they improved after receiving the plasma, and the donation process itself took only about an hour! Be a hero today!”

To be eligible to donate convalescent plasma, you must have a prior COVID-19 diagnosis and meet additional eligibility requirements. If you are interested in donating convalescent plasma, DO NOT MAKE A NORMAL PLASMA APPOINTMENT with Vitalant. Donors must meet additional criteria for convalescent plasma eligibility. To learn more and apply, visit www.vitalant.org/COVIDfree or call1-877-258-4825 .

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