Taking care of animals is what drives St. Charles County Division of Humane Services Director Katie Willis. After she contracted COVID-19 and was pulled away from the Pet Adoption Center, she quickly recovered and turned this negative experience into a positive one by donating convalescent plasma to help others.
Convalescent plasma has been used to treat viral diseases like polio and SARS in the past and is being evaluated as an effective way to minimize serious complications from COVID-19. Virus antibodies in a recovered individual’s blood plasma — the liquid portion of blood — can be used by medical professionals to fight the infection in others suffering from the disease.
Katie, who had a mild case of COVID-19, heard about the plasma donation program from her doctor. She said the process was painless and only took a couple of hours.
“I was raised to help people,” Willis says. “This donation gives me the opportunity to continue to do that. Because I know what it was like to be sick with this virus, and know others who suffered worse than I did, it’s rewarding to be able to do something that helps others get better.”
Individuals who previously tested positive for COVID-19, have fully recovered, and meet eligibility requirements can donate convalescent plasma. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services offers a list of agencies collecting blood plasma donations.
ICYMI: Watch Katie’s story on KMOV.