COVID-19 survivor starts website to link patients, convalescent plasma donors
ORLANDO, Fla. - A new website just launched, linking families of seriously ill COVID-19 patients with potential plasma donors.
PlasmaForLives.com was started by James Crocker, a COVID-19 survivor from Stuart, Florida who donated his plasma to a complete stranger after learning of his story through a mutual friend on Facebook.
“For me, as long as I was aware of a need in general, I was pretty apathetic to it really. I had a lot of things in my world to do,” Crocker said. “But the moment I saw a picture of Michael Kevin Rathel and his wife and his kids, Cole, Lauren and Grayson, as soon as I saw that picture, I saw that I had a unique opportunity and unique responsibility to drop everything and go donate plasma,” Crocker said.
The website gives families the opportunity to share up to three pictures of their loved and tell their story in 500 words or less.
“We need to hear your story. Capture our hearts to really increase the urgency behind the plasma donation effort,” Crocker said.
Rathel is walking proof that convalescent plasma treatments can work. When his battle with COVID-19 took a turn for the worse on April 4, doctors at Orlando Health put him on a ventilator and into a medically-induced coma.
“They said, he’s got about a 20 percent chance left,” Rathel said doctors told him.
Late evening on April 8, he received Crocker’s plasma. On Easter Sunday, Rathel started waking up from the medically induced coma. Twelve days after that, he was well enough to be discharged from the hospital and to finish recovering at home with his family. Now Rathel is advocating for five other patient he was in the intensive care unit with just a few days ago.
“They’re mostly 50 or older. I think there is one 45 year old. We need more donors out there. We need more people answering the call,” Rathel said.
Crocker realizes that him connecting with Rathel’s family through a mutual friend on Facebook was like finding a needle in a haystack. Now, he wants to make answering that call easier for other COVID-19 survivors.
“To be a part of saving somebody’s life is a rare privilege for a human being to experience,” Crocker said.
PlasmaForLives.com just launched this week. Crocker tells FOX 35 News the website has already received seven stories of COVID-19 patients in urgent need of convalescent plasma.
OneBlood facilitated Crocker’s plasma donation. Their spokesperson tells FOX 35 news that One Blood is now receiving plasma donations from Covid-19 survivors every day.