It was 48 hours of sickness for her, but after a painless 40-minute procedure, one college student may be able to help some of those suffering through the worst of COVID-19.
Madalyn Connors became the first person on Long Island to donate her plasma at the New York Blood Center in Mellville. That blood plasma can be used to help treat sick patients or help those most at-risk avoid contracting the virus.
"Obviously if I had been lucky enough to only sick for 48 hours, I was going to try and do whatever I could to help the people who needed it," Connors said.
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The Port Washington student — who spent her 21st birthday isolated in her house after a positive coronavirus test — believes she contracted the virus while abroad with friends during a trip in Spain, possibly at a concert in Barcelona.
She flew back to New York (no officials in Europe or at JFK Airport checked her temperature) and fell ill just days later. She got tested was forced to spend two weeks in quarantine, during which she said she was sick for a couple days. Her mother woke her up one night, telling her she had been coughing all night.
"I had the worst headache of my life, like I couldn't sit up," Connors said.
Once out of quarantine, Connors volunteered to donate her plasma to Mount Sinai, where a doctor and his colleagues developed a new test that can quickly check for anti-bodies in plasma. Those anti-bodies can be transfused into sick COVID-19 patients who are critically ill, and help them fight the virus.
"I feel grateful I was able to do something so painless to help people who are in so much pain," Connors said after the procedure that took about as long as a typical blood donation.
In order to donate plasma, you need to have previously tested positive for coronavirus and be symptom-free for at least days. Each donation could help 2-3 patients.