“It’s a win-win.” Blood donor praises new antibody program at KY Blood Center

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Those wondering if they had coronavirus, but say an antibody test is too expensive, there’s now a solution.

The Kentucky Blood Center offers a free one for donating blood.

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The new program will test blood donations for coronavirus antibodies. It’s all part of an effort to find coronavirus survivors who can donate plasma to those currently suffering.

“If you donate blood anyway, I mean, I think it’s a win-win,” says Eamonn FitzGerald, a frequent donor at Kentucky Blood Center.

“The idea that you’re not only helping somebody because you’re donating blood, but the possibility of helping more people with COVID,” FitzGerald says.

He’s been donating blood for more than 20 years. He says he does it because he wants to help, but also because he knows how essential it is.

“I have a friend who needed blood transfusions many years ago and she wouldn’t have survived had she not had blood transfusions, so she always makes sure to thank any of our friends that donate,” says FitzGerald.

Kentucky Blood Center’s Mandy Brajuha says donors are needed now more than ever.

“We know people come in to give blood because they want to be that lifesaver,” says Brajuha.

Now there might be a second way they can save lives. Donors who have antibodies might also be able to donate plasma that could help coronavirus patients recover.

“If you’re just curious whether or not you’ve been exposed to the virus, this is a win-win situation. You can save lives and find out that information,” says Brajuha.

She says the need for blood has only increased during the pandemic.

“Hospitals are doing more surgeries, more patients are in need, more traumas, and so we definitely want to see those – we call them crisis heroes – we want them to come back out again”

She says the process is the same as a routine donation.

The program will continue until October 3. Those who know they had the coronavirus, have since recovered, and would like to donate plasma, visit their website