BALTIMORE — A Baltimore-area mother is pleading for more plasma donors to come forward. A nationwide shortage has people living with immunodeficiencies on edge.
"People don't know the diagnosis and therefore they don't understand the treatment. And people don't know that blood donation is very different from plasma donation," said Jana, who wished to only be identified by her first name.
Jana is on a mission to educate people about the importance of donating plasma. There's a nationwide shortage right now and her son needs plasma to live. He started getting sick when he started school.
"We were told the official diagnosis was CVID, which stands for common variable immune deficiency. I learned a lot that day, and the treatment for it was to get IG plasma infusions to protect him from the germs his body wasn't able to fight," Jana said.
"Primary immunodeficiencies span a range of about 350 different diseases, each of which are reasonably rare by themselves, but taken together it's about 1 in 1,200 people have PI," said John Boyle, president of the Immune Deficiency Foundation.
The plasma shortage has many concerned.
"The issue is that these therapies are developed from human plasma. You can't make them in a factory. You can't just create another pill," said Byle, who also has the condition. "What you have to do is get what's known as source plasma, so it's coming straight from a human source."
Donating plasma is not the same as donating blood. You must go to a certified plasma collection center and you can do so twice in a seven-day period. They even pay you. It's a donation that won't take much of your time, but could help save lives
"My son and many other people have normal lives because of your time and donation, so please consider it," Jana said.