Mare Johnson became sick with COVID-19 at the onset of the pandemic. She recovered and almost immediately jumped at the opportunity to help others who would later have their own battle with the virus, by donating convalescent plasma.
"We ultimately feel very helpless in how we move past this or how we can help the most urgent of needs," Johnson said.
She is now a regular at her local LifeStream Blood Bank.
"It's truly a way of helping your neighbors when you don't have a whole lot of other options and ways to do that right now that are COVID-specific," she said.
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Dr. Joe Chaffin, chief medical officer of LifeStream Blood Bank, said a lot of people have stepped up.
"We've been able to help other places around the country that have been hit much worse than we have," Chaffin said.
As Southern California also experiences a large surge in infections, the need for more and consistent donations is still critical.
"There is absolutely a huge need to continue this collecting this product," he added.
Chaffin and Johnson joined The Fight is in Us, a nationwide campaign to find and engage potential donors, help them find local donor centers, and resources for free transportation.
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"Donating convalescent plasma is a great avenue to get to that point where you're helping someone else get through what you were able to get through," Chaffin said.
Johnson has already donated more than 10 times and plans to keep going.
"Until they tell me I can't," she said. "It's about 45 minutes every week that I get to either read a book or watch, catch up on a TV show... It costs us so little in time and resources to make a substantial difference for the people who are the sickest of sick right now."
For more information, you can visit: thefightisinus.org