Vitalant hosts thank you event for local convalescent plasma donors


From left to right, Dr. Samantha Mack, Medical Director of Vitalant’s Mountain Division; Dr Nadine Lober, local coordinator of convalescent plasma collection, Anne Burtchaell, vice-president of the mountain division of Vitalant and recipient of convalescent plasma, and Paul Nielsen.
Tricia Swenson/[email protected]

It’s hard to believe that over a year ago many people felt helpless as the grip of COVID-19 took control of the nation and the world. Dr Nadine Lober, veterinarian and owner of Vail Valley Vet, changed that feeling of helplessness and turned it into hope for the community of Vail and beyond.

Dr Lober had contracted COVID-19 in March and as soon as she could she would travel to Denver to donate convalescent plasma to help others with COVID-19.

Vitalant, one of the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofit transfusion medicine organizations, was at the Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa in Avon on Wednesday to personally thank the plasma donors and community partners who made a donation. difference in the lives of people with COVID-19. . They also personally thanked Dr Lober for his tireless efforts in bringing qualified donors to the recovery plasma drives.



“A lot of people had heard of convalescent plasma and were very interested in helping but didn’t know how. Dr Lober really helped us connect with those in the Vail area, ”said Dr Samantha Mack, Medical Director of Vitalant’s Mountain Division.

With the help of Dr Lober’s sister, Dr Alma Jules, Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Dr Lober was able to coordinate with Vitalant to organize mobile plasma drives. of convalescence last spring and summer.



“The demand greatly exceeded the number of donors. We were literally advocating for this product, ”said Dr. Mack.

“We created a Gmail email account, contacted the community with an article in Vail Daily and I was amazed at the response,” said Dr Lober. “Vail had been a hotspot for COVID-19 from the start and many people had recovered and wanted to help in any way they could.

Paul Nielsen of Colorado Springs was also invited to the event hosted by Vitalant. He received convalescent plasma and some of it came from a donor in Eagle County after contracting COVID last April.

“I was a few hours after being put on a ventilator and was the first patient at Memorial North Hospital in Colorado Springs to receive recovery plasma. It really stabilized me and changed things, ”Nielsen said.

Nielsen, a data architect who has written several non-fiction technical books on database design and development, took his writing skills and wrote a book about his experience titled “COVID Case 741.” He also became a recovering plasma donor himself.

“I donated plasma five times, which is enough to help 20 patients,” Nielsen said.

Over a year later, Dr. Lober is still touched when he talks about coordinating and leading the charge to secure a donation of convalescent plasma and match qualified donors with Vitalant.

“I still cry and I feel overwhelmed. To be able to make a difference in a small community, to make a difference and to save lives, I would do it again, ”said Dr Lober.

Processes have continually changed in response to FDA guidance throughout the pandemic, so currently all convalescent plasma is derived from regular blood drives. Vitalant is able to produce convalescent plasma from donated blood that tests positive for high levels of antibodies and this plasma may help patients with COVID-19 while the other components serve other needs. continuous patient care.

Blood donors of all types, especially those with type O, should be prepared not only for elective surgeries and planned treatments, but also for any unexpected events.

Vitalant is able to produce convalescent plasma from donated blood that tests positive for high levels of antibodies and this plasma may help patients with COVID-19 while the other components serve other needs. continuous patient care.
Tricia Swenson/[email protected]

According to vitalant.org, a single victim of a car accident might need 100 units of blood or more. Every two seconds someone in the United States needs a blood transfusion. The Westin Riverfront held a blood drive last Wednesday, the same day as the thank-you event, but there are two more blood drives in Summit County in May and June. For more information, visit vitalant.org.

Thursday May 27

  • Breckenridge Community Multipurpose Hall
  • 880 Airport Road, Breckenridge
  • Open from 10 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.

Tuesday June 15

  • Outlets at Silverthorne – Next to Loft Outlet
  • Unit 227-N. Blue River Parkway, Silverthorne
  • Open from 1 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.
Mike McGee of Eagle donates blood at Vitalant’s blood drive at the Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa in Avon on Wednesday. Vitalant also hosted an appreciation event to thank the community for their support in donating blood and in particular convalescent plasma to help patients with COVID-19.
Tricia Swenson/[email protected]

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