Arkansas man setting records for plasma donations


(WIVB) — Antibodies have been instrumental in helping people recover from COVID-19. One man from Arkansas is setting records on how many times he’s donated convalescent plasma.

Walking through the door of the clinic, signing in and taking a seat is nothing new for Jimmy Perkins.

This was his 18th time donating convalescent plasma to help those recovering from COVID-19.

“She just inserted the needle to start drawing the blood,” Perkins said. “Then, once the blood is drawn, the plasma is separated from the blood.”

Perkins had one of the first cases of COVID-19 in the state.

“I woke up at like three in the morning the first day and couldn’t breathe,” he said.

Perkins ended up spending two days in the hospital, but back then, antibody treatments were not an option.

“I would’ve been glad to receive some if I could’ve,” he said.

Now, he’s giving up what he never got, but this goes way beyond the pandemic. It started about two decades ago, when his daughter was just a baby.

“Of course she’s 21 now,” Perkins said. ‘But right when she was born, she had to have plasma for her illness and she was in the hospital about 14 days, and she was on a ventilator.”

That experience moved him to make regular visits to the blood bank.

“Probably for ten years I donated twice a week,” he says.

So, when the chance to help others came up again, there was no question.

“It’s an easy process and you can make the difference between life and death for another person,” Perkins says.

Now, with each drop, he’s giving the COVID cases that follow his a better chance at recovery.

“What more could you ask for?” Perkins says.

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