DES MOINES, Iowa — LifeServe Blood Center says there is always a decrease in blood donations this time of the year because of the winter weather, but this year, donations are down even more because of canceled blood drives due to COVID-19.
One local woman has seen the blood donation process come full circle when her life was saved by blood donors.
“It was nine years ago almost to the day that I gave birth to my daughter and my daughter was perfectly healthy but unfortunately, I had an emergency hemorrhage and so things didn’t necessarily go as planned,” Grimes resident Traci Rodemeyer said.
During a seven-hour emergency surgery, Rodemeyer needed 12 units of blood and 15 units of plasma to keep her alive.
“About 30 people donated the blood and the plasma that I needed to save my life during that surgery,” Rodemeyer said.
So now, Rodemeyer is an advocate for LifeServe Blood Center and donates blood as often as she can.
“So, when I know I’m able to donate again, I could call and schedule an appointment and of course if my daughter’s able to come along I drag her along with me,” Rodemeyer said.
But for the first time, Rodemeyer is donating convalescent plasma after discovering she had COVID-19 antibodies in her blood.
“When somebody donates blood, the LifeServe Blood Center tests that blood to see if they have antibodies in their plasma so COVID-19 antibodies from people who have recovered from COVID can be used to treat those who are severely ill with COVID,” Rodemeyer said.
She said her positive antibody test came at just the right time.
“Just last week my 93-year-old grandmother tested positive for COVID-19. And so, she was fortunate enough to be approved to receive convalescent plasma so just a few days ago, she received her transfusion. She’s doing great,” Rodemeyer said.
Grandma Gloria got her transfusion at Boone County Hospital.
“That just really touched me so much to know that somebody donated their antibodies their plasma to help my grandma, and I have the opportunity to do the same for somebody else,” Rodemeyer said.
You can sign up to donate blood or plasma at lifeservebloodcenter.org.