It can take anywhere from 130 to 1,200 donations to treat one single patient on a plasma-based medication for one year, depending on their condition.
Donating plasma is a simple and rewarding way for members of the AU community to touch the lives of our Anderson community and far beyond.
Talecris Plasma Resource Center is located on Scatterfield Road and is looking for students and staff to become part of its life-saving donor team.
Talecris is a section of the global healthcare company Grifols, a leader in plasma collection and production of plasma-derived medicine, diagnostic systems and pharmacy products. Grifols is also recognized for its comprehensive range of transfusion medicine, as well as its hemostasis and immunoassay solutions used in clinical laboratories, blood banks and transfusion centers.
Colin Seal, Public Affairs Manager for Grifols, explains that the company has “more than a 75-year legacy of improving people’s health and wellbeing.” Its Anderson location is one of over 160 in the U.S., and the company has reached more than 100 countries worldwide.
Many students have donated blood in the past, and donating plasma is a similar way to benefit an even wider range of patients.
Plasma is the clear portion of the blood which contains proteins and antibodies that are removed to create life-saving medications. These medications are used to treat several immune deficiency diseases, neurological disorders, hemophilia and other bleeding disorders, certain genetic deficiencies, as well as burn, shock and trauma victims. Plasma is also used in immunization medications for tetanus, rabies and Hepatitis A and B.
The medications are administered to patients through infusions, injections or subcutaneously. Many patients require regular, life-long treatment, so the need for plasma donation is serious and constant.
The process of donating plasma is much like donating blood. However, the difference lies in a specialized medical device used to separate the donor’s plasma from their red blood cells, which are then returned to their bodies. According to Seal, “this is a safe, sterile, automated process [that] typically takes around two hours for first-time donators.”
To donate plasma, you must be at least 18 years old and weigh at least 110 pounds. You must also provide proper identification, such as a driver’s license, your social security number, a permanent address and a comprehensive health history.
Before donating plasma, your vital signs, protein levels and blood cell counts will be tested. First-time donors will also receive a physical examination by one of Talecris’ trained medical staff members. This is as beneficial to the donator as it is to the company—you are essentially receiving a free check-up without having to visit the doctor’s office.
Each plasma sample is tested to ensure it meets strict safety and quality standards before it is used to manufacture medication. In addition, Talecris asks that donors go through the screening and donating process twice before their plasma is used, not only for safety purposes, but also to ensure the individual is committed to regularly donating plasma.
Once these initial steps are complete, Seal explains that “our bodies replenish plasma quickly, so donors are permitted to give up to two times per week.”
If the intrinsic motivation of knowing you are making a difference in someone’s life is not enough to persuade you to donate plasma, new donors are also compensated for the time they spend in the donation process. Up to $100 can be earned weekly, depending on several factors. Tiffany Jones, Medical Operations Supervisor at Talecris, explains a few of the options students have with their earnings—they can “be donated to a cause of their choice, used to assist in educational expenses, or added to a tithe.”
Seal believes the involvement of students is imperative to the success of Talecris’ and Grifols’ life-saving efforts. “Plasma is a finite resource and is dependent on generous donations of committed donors who regularly visit our centers across the United States,” he says.
“Being a plasma donor is extremely important and we would love to see more people choosing to do this,” Seal says.
There are other ways to help the Plasma Resource Center if you cannot give plasma. Seal explains a fundraising program that will be implemented in the coming months, a “chance to help raise money for [your] favorite non-profits and community groups.” He sees this as a great alternative to donating plasma that benefits the community, plasma patients and plasma donators.
For more information, Seal encourages AU students and staff to call Talecris at (765)-649-3900 or visit www.grifolsplasma.com.