For Cindy Hagen, donating plasma is like a quick smile, a friendly conversation or the few seconds spent holding the door for someone. These are ways Cindy pays it forward, and they represent the softer parts of life.
After prodding from her daughter, who herself was a donor while in college, Hagen decided she had to try donating. From the beginning, it wasn’t about personal benefits, as enticing as they may be. It wasn’t about the money or even the fact that donating has led her to make more health conscious choices.
Hagen says she is giving plasma because she knows her donation can help people. Plasma is currently being used to treat people with hemophilia, primary immune deficiency, shock or burns, rabies, tetanus, autoimmune diseases and more. In fact, one of these therapies was first used during World War II and continues to be used on today’s battlefields for the treatment of wounded soldiers.
Plasma contains hundreds of essential proteins and antibodies that are vital to the body’s ability to maintain critical functions, including controlling bleeding and fighting infections. Without enough of these proteins, a person could have a life-threatening illness. It takes from 130 to 1,300 plasma donations to treat just one person who may need plasma medicines for one year.
Hagen said she considers her plasma donations worthwhile if she can help give another person an improved life.
“If it helps one person, you know, it is kind of like a pay-it-forward,” she said.
And she has noticed the benefits in her own life: Because plasma donation requires a healthy donor, she finds herself cutting back on coffee, increasing her water intake and choosing healthier foods.
Donor health and product safety are priorities. Only plasma from healthy, repeat donors is used to produce plasma-derived medicines. Donors receive a thorough health screening at each donation, including a physical exam at the first visit. Plasma donors are compensated for their time because of the commitment involved in being a regular plasma donor.
Hagen admitted she doesn’t really care which form a person’s generosity takes — she would just like to see people help each other. But she said giving plasma is an especially convenient way to help others. It’s easy and takes about an hour to an 90 minutes.
“If it only takes you an hour and a half to help somebody, would you do it?” she said.
To make a difference in someone’s life, you can donate in Salt Lake or in Sandy. Learn more by visiting www.grifolsplasma.com, or come by the Biomat USA Plasma Donor Centers, with locations at 630 W. North Temple and 83 E. 800 South in Salt Lake City and 727 E. 9400 South in Sandy.
Please be sure you bring a valid government-issued ID, proof of address and social security card.