A Franklin resident who had tested positive for COVID-19 in March and recovered soon afterward has helped the American Red Cross in the fight against the disease by donating plasma at the organization’s Blood Donation Center in Nashville.
When Lela Hollabaugh, an attorney who lives in Franklin with her husband, learned about the value of donated plasma from individuals who are fully recovered from the coronavirus, she didn’t hesitate to step up to help.
Convalescent plasma is an antibody-rich product made from blood donated by people who have recovered from the disease caused by the virus and is a potentially life-saving treatment for critically ill COVID-19 patients.
“I want to help others who are ill and do whatever I can to help the medical community find a solution,” Hollabaugh said in a press release from the Red Cross.
Hollabaugh, who enjoys spending time with family, running and actively serving with the Nashville Bar Association and on the boards of the Multiple Sclerosis Society and Renewal House, learned first-hand how critical yet varying the recovery process can be when she tested positive for COVID-19 last month.
“I am fortunate that my symptoms were relatively mild, and I felt ill for just a few days,” she said. “I actually ran 5.5 miles the day after my COVID test, but it was very difficult. My husband was quarantined for 14 days and was glad to be released without getting ill. Now that I am recovered, I am fortunate to be able to help my mom and other family members.”
Collaborating with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Red Cross has developed a process to identify and qualify individuals who have recovered from the virus and have antibodies that may help patients seriously ill with COVID-19 in their recovery.
The Red Cross is also working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and hospital partners to identify potential recovered COVID-19 patients to participate in this program.
Through its partnership with Blood Assurance, the Williamson Medical Center is also seeking plasma donations from completely recovered patients.
Convalescent plasma donation
All potential convalescent plasma donors are asked to fill out the online form on RedCrossBlood.org/plasma4covid. If individuals meet the donation criteria, Red Cross will follow-up about an appointment to donate at a Red Cross or non-Red Cross collection site — depending on where you live.