Give plasma, Get cash - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Give plasma, Get cash

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June 19, 2008

Albany - Millions of pints of blood plasma are donated in America every year. The majority of it is used to make drugs that are used to treat all kinds of illnesses, from leukemia to burns. And now, giving plasma is serving another purpose, more people are donating because they get paid for it. 

For more than 15 years, Aurora Page has been donating at the Talecris Plasma Center in Albany, Georgia. "I come twice a week," she said. It's her way of contributing to the community. "Well, I know it's a good way to give back," said Page.  "Plasma saves lives, plus it's helping me at the same time."

Helping out, in these hard economic times. "Financially," she said.  "Right now there's a gas crunch and it's a big help in gas." That's because each time people like Aurora give of themselves, they receive in return.  And in the past few months, many more people have gathered outside the center hoping for a little help. Why do you think there's a longer line every time the doors are opened here," asked Reporter Karen Cohilas. Center Director Marcy Reese said, "The gas prices.  $4.05 is what I saw yesterday, with the economy the way it is, people are needing some extra cash.  They can save a life and earn some cash here."

When donors come into the center, they're hooked up to this machine which separates the plasma from the blood.  For their time and that life saving plasma, they're compensated and could get up to $400 a month. The plasma goes to make life saving medicine.  The money, can be a life saver of its own. Page said, "Some people use it to help pay light bills or rent.  It's just what you need it to do at that time."

And the increase in donors isn't just happening in Albany. Tom Caruso, Vice President of Operations said, "Our numbers are up across the country.  We think that's primarily due to the state of the economy as well as higher gas prices."

And although Aurora says the money is an added benefit, it's not the only reason she comes here. She said, "I'm saving lives and that's the main thing.  Of course, It's giving me money in my pocket, but the most important thing, I think, is that it's saving lives." While making life a little easier for those who give. 

We have more information on plasma donations now: Plasma contains proteins that are used to make prescription drugs that can be used to manage life threatening conditions like Hemophilia, Immune Disorders, Hepatitis, tetanus, rabies and even lung disease.

The amount of time you have to wait between plasma donations varies, depending on where you donate. It's probably a good idea to talk to your doctor before becoming a donor. 

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