Hundreds donating plasma for gas money
Posted: June 3, 2008 04:40 PM
By KRISTYN HENTSCHEL
6 News Reporter
KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- A growing number of people are heading to the Knoxville Plasma Center, in hopes of easing the pain at the gas pump.
So how is donating plasma different from donating blood?
Blood has a liquid portion, plasma, and a cellular portion. Plasma has a number of vital functions for bleeding and infection control.
It also contains proteins and antibodies produced by the immune system to fight diseases.
Plasma's uses and the donation money it draws are reasons Dustin Biggerstaff spent his Tuesday in a hot car with three kids, waiting for his fiancee, who was donating plasma.
"Oh yeah, it is worth it. We can buy gas and diapers," Biggerstaff says.
His fiancee, Lisa Harmon, is one of hundreds recently pumping out plasma. The Knoxville Plasma Center hooks up more than 100 donors a day to machines.
That's double the amount of donors the center staff saw this time last year.
"They are getting gas money and helping save lives. It's a great thing," says the center's Candice Thompson.
Plasma is a key ingredient for products that help treat patients with a host of life-threatening conditions, including:
- Shock or trauma
- Immune deficiencies
- Other blood disorders
The center staff says the slump in the economy is forcing the extreme measures and people of all types are lending an arm.
"We have college professors who are donating. We have some doctors. We have nurses. There's all kinds people here," Thompson says.
Lisa Harmon says she's been giving plasma to get gas money twice a week for the past six months.
Harmon says the pain from the prick of a needle is nothing compared to the pain she feels at the pump.
First time donors get $40 for each of their first two visits and $20 each time after that. You can donate plasma up to twice a week.