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Barre native donates convalescent plasma to help others fighting COVID-19
Communities in Vermont and across the country depend on the American Red Cross for help every day – and supporting those communities is at the heart of what we do. Our work never stops, even during this coronavirus crisis. The Red Cross has joined the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s effort to support the collection and distribution of convalescent plasma, a potentially life-saving treatment for critically ill COVID-19 patients. Together, we have worked around the clock to put this new initiative in place by establishing a process to identify, qualify, and collect convalescent plasma safely from recovered COVID-19 individuals.
One of the first in Vermont to step forward and donate convalescent plasma was Kailey Stevens. The spirit of helping lives strong in Vermonters and once recuperated Kailey knew she would do whatever she could to help others fighting the virus.
Kailey was born and raised in Barre, Vermont, and in 2019 volunteered to serve in the Peace Corps. She was seven months into a 27-month deployment to Morocco when she came down with COVID-19. It was early March when she began to experience symptoms of the virus, and was evacuated back to the U.S. Kailey’s doctor recommended she be tested for the virus, and the results came back positive for COVID-19. She was fortunate, her symptoms were mild but over the course of about a month they began to affect her quality of life.
Kailey is a nurse by training and once recovered made the decision to stay home in Vermont and accept a nursing position with Central Vermont Medical Center. As a healthcare professional she knows how valuable blood products are to a patient’s recovery, and made the decision to become a convalescent plasma donor with the American Red Cross in Vermont.
When asked about her decision to become a donor Kailey’s answer comes easily, “When I found out my plasma donation could help another person who might be critically ill with the COVID-19 virus I knew I was going to donate. I saw it as an opportunity to give back and thought this is what I should be doing!” To date, the Red Cross has distributed thousands of convalescent plasma products to help patients in Vermont and around the country.