PLASMA: A Source of Life to Share
By Lisa Woodrum
Are you aware that you possess a source and gift of life inside you that you can share with others? It’s called plasma. Fifty-five percent of your blood is made up of plasma and science cannot duplicate it.
People in our community and worldwide experience health conditions which require medicines containing this key component. Plasma donations are used to produce medicines that treat rare and chronic conditions. For example, plasma medicines can be used to treat more than 80 different autoimmune diseases, immunodeficiencies and rare blood disorders, saving lives or improving the quality of life for a multitude of men, women and children in 110 countries!
The Fort Walton Beach Grifols Donor Center is one of 300 Grifols centers in the U.S. and also has a strong global presence. Grifols has the foremost leading plasma collection/donation centers in the world. During its five years here in Fort Walton, it has been managed by Kacy Torres who was originally a donor herself in Pensacola. She learned of Grifols’ mission, ”Improving the health and well-being of people around the world,” which resonated with her heart to make a difference. “I saw what it actually entailed and their mission [motivated me to pursue this as a career],” said Kacy.
Grifols is careful to steward every person’s wellbeing, from the donor giving the plasma to the millions of patients receiving their life-saving services and medication produced from the plasma.
As a donor, I can testify from personal experience of the strict, consistent adherence to high standards of safety and professionalism of the staff every time I’ve donated since December of 2022. Every appointment has been a safe, pleasant and positive experience.
Dr. Jose Antonio Grifol developed the technique of plasmapheresis in 1951; this is a process of safely drawing the plasma from the donor, separating the plasma and returning the red blood along with saline back to the donor; all completed with one needle from the same vein that a whole blood donation is taken. Grifols is licensed and regulated by the FDA, complying with numerous regulations and inspected by various agencies for quality assurance throughout the year.
Along with a sense of pride in knowing I have been a source of invaluable plasma, I am also compensated for my donation! Because Grifols recognizes their donors’ sacrifice of commitment and time (approximately one hour), donors are compensated. They receive a prepaid debit card after an initial orientation and health screening confirming eligibility. A deposit is automatically applied after your second donation and thereafter each time you donate, which can be withdrawn at the participating ATM. (Compensation totals vary; check with center/website for details).
Healthy individuals between the ages of 18 and 69 must weigh over 110 lbs. to donate. For your initial screening, it is best to come early in the day as it can take approximately two hours. Bring a valid photo ID, proof of social security number or border crossing card and proof of address (such as a bill that matches your ID).
From my experience as a donor, I am motivated to be more conscientious about my diet as donors are required to maintain sufficient levels of iron and protein as well as staying hydrated. From my research, I have also learned some extra benefits of donating plasma: It can potentially reduce bad cholesterol levels (thus lowering blood pressure) and increase good cholesterol!
In your giving, you and multitudes are gaining! It’s a “win-win” situation! For more information about Grifols, the process and compensation, visit the website at Grifolsplasma.com (And tell them Destin Life sent you!)