FAIRBORN — The Nutter Center Dec. 1 hosted its first “Crisis Warrior” drive for COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma (CCP), a blood product that is in peak demand at area hospitals for the treatment of critically ill coronavirus patients.
The Nutter Center has hosted blood drives throughout the pandemic, but for the university, the “Crisis Warrior” drive is the first of its kind.
Nationally, one out of five hospitalized COVID-19 patients are receiving convalescent plasma. During Thanksgiving week, Community Blood Center shipped 403 doses, the highest weekly output since CBC began collecting CCP in April, with all of it going to regional hospitals.
The WSU Nutter Center plasma drive registered eight donors and collected seven units, enough to make 21 doses for immediate use.
Macie Flora, a fourth-year nursing student at WSU, was the first donor of the plasma drive. Flora started donating blood at Northeastern High School and continued doing so at Wright State. She became eligible to make her first CCP donation after recovering from COVID-19.
“It wasn’t very bad for me,” Flora said. “I actually thought I had a head cold until I woke up from a nap and couldn’t taste or smell anything anymore. So just the fact that I didn’t have it that bad and I can help someone who might be worse off than me, might as well!”
The opportunity to donate at the Nutter Center plasma drive was especially meaningful for WSU staff locksmith Ronald Applegate. Applegate has been a platelet and plasma donor with CBC for 20 years, and his CCP donation Tuesday marked his 60th lifetime blood donation. Previously, he had not been able to donate in nearly two years due to a heart condition medication.
“My wife works at Miami Valley Hospital,” Applegate said. “When I tested positive (for COVID-19) I thought, ‘I really want to do this if I can.’ Yesterday was my first day back at work, symptom free for 14 days. I immediately got on the phone.”
After the phone conversation, Applegate was cleared to donate. Because of the immediate need, CCP donors are permitted to donate once per week with a maximum of eight donations in three months.
“I’m very excited about this,” he said. “I wanted to get to 60 donations. If I can, I’ll show up every week.”
Applegate also wanted to donate in memory of Dr. Mukul Chandra, a prominent cardiologist at Miami Valley Hospital and a professor of medicine at Wright State. Chandra was one of the first area patients to receive convalescent plasma after the CBC program began in early April. He lost his battle with COVID-19 in October. According to a release by Premier Health on the date of his death, Chandra was a tireless advocate for his local American Heart Association.
“Dr. Chandra was my cardiologist,” Applegate said. “He was a heck of a guy. He was a godsend to me.”
Reach London Bishop at 937-502-4532 or follow @LBishopFDH on Twitter.