CAMARILLO, Calif. (KABC) -- As more coronavirus survivors get to the other side, many are stepping forward as plasma donors. The hope is their plasma will boost the immune systems of current coronavirus patients.
One Camarillio man offered his story of survival and hope.
In mid-February, Dwight Everett and his wife of Camarillio went on 10-day Grand Princess cruise to Mexico.
"So about the fifth day into the cruise, I started to feel ill," he said.
Everett figured it was the flu or valley fever.
He said, "Now with valley fever, the symptoms are very close to what the virus is. So this is what I'm thinking all along."
When he got home, he saw a doctor who prescribed an inhaler and antibiotics to treat his shortness of breath. Then he saw on the news that a Placer County man who was on the same cruise he was on had died from COVID-19.
"Believe it or not, I put two and together. I said 'uh oh, I think I may have the same thing.' And that's when my doctor contacted the CDC and Ventura County Health," he said.
He got tested and it was positive. Everett became the first official case in Ventura County.
He was already on the road to recovery when one of his doctors approached him about donating his plasma to a sick patient.
Everett then donated a second round of plasma at Vitalant, a local blood bank. His plasma went to two more patients including one in Northern California who has improved.
"She's off the ventilator now and she's back almost speaking to her husband again," Everett said. "So it's coming along wonderfully. Let's just put it that way. She's getting much better."
Local researchers are looking for more people who've recovered from COVID-19. The American Red Cross is helping the FDA coordinate the effort.
Everett said it feels good to be able to donate.
"It makes me feel like I've actually made some difference in this whole mess of the coronavirus," Everett said.
He says it didn't take much to do a whole lot of good.
Plasma donation from Southern California COVID-19 survivor goes on to help critically-ill patient
Plasma donation from SoCal COVID-19 survivor goes on to help critically-ill patient.
CIRCLE OF HEALTH