For many, the idea of giving blood causes immediate anxiety and fear of possible pain because of the needles used to collect blood donations. Anna Marietta of St. Charles, Michigan, was one of these people. Up until 2021, her anxieties kept her from donating. However, after recovering from COVID-19, she was inspired to overcome her fears and give back to help others during the pandemic by becoming a convalescent plasma donor.
Anna, a speech language pathologist who loves spending time with her nieces and nephews, tested positive for COVID-19 in November 2020. Anna had lost her job due to cutbacks and was living with her parents when she became ill.
“Having COVID-19 for me was very scary for a few reasons,” Anna said. “I was very afraid of giving it to my parents.”
Anna also has asthma, which caused an increased shortness of breath during her illness and had lasting symptoms like severe and, at times debilitating, migraines.
After several weeks, Anna fortunately recovered and found a growing desire to help others during the pandemic. That’s when she decided it was time to face her fears of the donation process and become a convalescent plasma donor. Those who have recovered from COVID-19 carry antibodies that can be transfused to patients currently battling the virus as a potentially lifesaving treatment.
“I decided to donate my plasma because it’s very needed. There are so many people struggling to recover, and if my plasma can help someone, I want them to have it,” she said.
Anna gave her first convalescent plasma donation in January with the Red Cross in Flint, Michigan. Now she encourages others to donate as well, whether that’s a blood, platelet or plasma donation.
“There was a time when I never would’ve considered donating blood or plasma because I’ve always had anxiety about it, but it was truly a good experience. The staff took great care in making a nervous donor feel comfortable and at ease. I plan to donate again.”
Through Anna’s bravery, she was able to help someone who may have desperately needed her lifesaving plasma donation. For many people, #HelpCantWait when they are battling life-threatening illnesses and are in desperate need of blood and plasma donations.
If you would like to help someone in need, consider rolling up a sleeve and donating today! To learn more and get started, visit redcrossblood.org.