Manhattan coronavirus survivor donates plasma to help other patients


MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNT) – A Manhattan woman is answering the call as the American Red Cross looks for plasma donations to help coronavirus patients.

This week, Jennifer Smith became the first woman in the area to donate. Smith’s husband Andrew was diagnosed with the coronavirus in March, and she ended up getting it as well. They were both cleared of the virus this week and are using their experience to help others.

People like Jennifer who have recovered from the virus have antibodies in their plasma that can help people who are still sick get better.

“They did it for someone in Oklahoma City and they immediately took it to someone dealing in the ICU with COVID, extreme issues with COVID,” Jennifer said. “And within hours this person already started to show some improvement.”

Jennifer got tested for those antibodies this week and doctors told her she has them, which means her blood can help people affected.

“Took about two and a half hours,” Jennifer said. “Wasn’t the most comfortable procedure I’ve ever had, but I knew all the way along that it was going to hopefully go back in and help somebody.”

Her husband Andrew is not yet able to donate his plasma because of complications he had during his fight with the coronavirus. He hopes to be able to donate this summer.

“We were so supported by our community, our neighborhood here,” Andrew said. “People in our life, all over the country. And if we can give back to two, three, four people and maybe change the outcome for them.”

If Jennifer wants to donate again in the future, she’ll have to be tested in 28 days to see if her plasma still has the antibodies. Right now, only the American Red Cross building in Salina has a machine capable of collecting coronavirus antibodies. Jennifer said the centers in Manhattan hope to get the machine soon.

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