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After recovering from COVID-19, community leaders call for plasma donations

Some high-profile leaders are teaming up with OneBlood to ask others to donate convalescent plasma.
Credit: OneBlood
These are some of the convalescent plasma donations at OneBlood.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — From lawmakers to law enforcement, some high-profile community leaders have had COVID-19.

Florida State Rep. Chris Latvala recently shared his experience with 10 Tampa Bay’s Liz Crawford. While Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri also tested positive for COVID-19 back in August. 

Now after recovering from the virus, some are wanting to turn their misfortune into something positive for others and are partnering with One Blood to raise awareness about convalescent plasma donation.

Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood says God has given him many gifts, like his recovery. He feels like a first responder, he wants to do anything he can to help the community, and that's why he donated.

“If I have the ability to help one person, to me it’s a success,” Chitwood said. “I’ve been given a lot in life, and I think it’s my turn to pay it forward.”

And a federal prosecutor says he recognizes his donation could help someone who has struggled with illness.

“My entire family—my wife, my four sons, two daughters-in-law, we all had COVID at the same time, all have fortunately and thankfully gotten through it and very glad to do what I’m here to do today. To give back, contribute and be part of a whole of society, whole of government response to the crisis,” U.S. Attorney Larry Keefe said.

One Blood says their big red buses haven't been able to get the blood donations at big events during the pandemic. Blood drives on school campuses would bring in more than 20 percent of their donations. Regardless of whether you've had symptoms, your blood will be tested for antibodies to see if you're also eligible to donate plasma.

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