Illinois Air National Guard member donates convalescent plasma after recovering from COVID-19

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — A new treatment doctors say could save the lives of many COVID-19 patients.

We spoke exclusively with a recovered patient from Peoria County, who can now help save others.

Joshua White was one of the first COVID-19 patients in the Tri-County area.

He serves in the Illinois Air National Guard, and now after recovering from COVID-19, he’s deciding to serve and protect other Coronavirus patients, by donating convalescent plasma.

“I’ve been pretty blessed in life, in every measurable way, it’s just a way for me to give back to others,” White said.

Josh White says he’s the type of guy that never gets sick, but that all changed when he was diagnosed with the Novel Coronavirus.

“It just drug on. Unlike the flu, the temperatures would spike, and then they would hang on. I would take Tylenol and it wouldn’t break the fever,” White said.

His life completely changed when he became ill. Spending 10 days quarantined in his bedroom, unable to see his family face to face.

“They would drop food on a tray, at the door to my bedroom and walk away, and then I would open the door to retrieve my food,” White said.

But after 10 days, White stopped feeling symptoms and soon after was fully recovered.

Now he’s donating his convalescent plasma at Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center in Peoria.

Jim Watts with the Center says one persons’ donation can help up to four patients.

“With these donations, people are able to help those in the hospital who can’t fight it on their own,” Watts said.

White sees his experience with COVID-19 as an opportunity to serve people in a different way.

“Our purpose in life is to help other people out whenever you can. It was just an opportunity to do what I was meant to do,” White said.

Now he is hoping other people will follow suit to beat the virus, and save lives.

“It feels like me fighting COVID-19 on my own, helps in a way to help others fight it as well who can’t fight it on their own,” White said.

Any recovered COVID-19 patient can donate convalescent plasma at a local blood center like MVRBC.

Click here for care provider and self-referrals for convalescent plasma donors for those that had a positive molecular test (also called PCR or polymerase chain reaction) and are fully recovered from COVID-19.  Email or call 833-610-1025 with questions.

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