Students donate plasma in exchange for extra cash

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College students can work part time jobs to make ends meet.

Katy Grove, sophomore in athletic training and rehabilitation sciences, donates blood plasma to help pay for expenses.

“I donate because the exchange is huge! I make about $45 each time I donate,” Grove said via email. “It’s allowed me to only work part-time and has helped me pay rent, as well as pay for a couple out-of-state trips this summer.”

Grove said she was inspired by her dad’s consistency with donating.

“I got into donating because my dad, Jeff Grove, has been donating religiously for the past few years,” Grove said. “I also donate because I know I get to help people. Going into the medical field, I recognize how important blood and plasma donating is and how it can save a life.”

Kourtney Rumback, junior in biology and psychology, also donates plasma for compensation. She enjoys helping others while also being rewarded for her time and donations.

“I’ve always donated blood, but I am from rural Kansas, and we do not have a plasma donation center,” Rumback said. “So this is a way for me to get some money back.”

Rumback said if she can make $80 a week, she can cover groceries for the week and make up half her rent for the month. She is also using the cash to pay for her wedding.

“I am getting married next year, so just having some extra money to spend on some stuff is another reason,” Rumback said.

CSL Plasma is a local plasma donation center in Manhattan. Right now, donors can make over $1,000 a month at the CSL Plasma donation center, depending on how often they donate.

“However compensation and promotions for eligible, qualified donors can vary by center location and weight,” Rhonda Sciarra, CSL Plasma’s director of communications, said.

Sciarra said donating plasma can help improve and save many lives, which is why so many people choose to donate plasma.

“People are motivated to donate because they are able to help others … as well as be rewarded for their time and efforts,” Sciarra said.

CSL Behring — CSL Plasma’s parent company — uses the donated plasma to produce therapeutic products that help treat illnesses and disorders around the world.

“Human plasma is used to treat bleeding disorders including hemophilia and von Willebrand disease, primary immune deficiencies, hereditary angioedema, inherited respiratory disease and neurological disorders in certain markets,” Sciarra said.

Sciarra said CSL Behring’s products are also used in cardiac surgery, organ transplantation, burn treatment and prevention of hemolytic diseases in newborns.

After the first donation, participants have a better idea of the donation process and notice future appointments are usually quicker than the first.

“It takes about 35-40 minutes because what they are doing is they take out your whole blood, run it through basically a centrifuge to get the plasma off the top, and then they return the red blood cells to you as well as saline to make up for the lost plasma to keep you hydrated,” Rumback said.

Sciarra said anyone who meets the following requirements can donate at the Manhattan CSL location:

  • in good health
  • between the ages of 18-65
  • weighs at least 110 pounds
  • hasn’t received new tattoos or piercings within the last 4 months
  • meets the eligibility and screening requirements
  • has valid identification and a permanent address

The CSL Plasma center website outlines all the limitations and has several staff members that can answer any questions.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates who can donate and how often they can donate. The FDA regulates donors to only donate plasma once in two days — and no more than twice in seven days.

“When I originally started, I planned to donate twice a week, which is what I plan to go back [to] now that I am eligible again,” Rumback said.

Plasma is beneficial to the body and is quickly remade, which is why donors can donate more than once a week. When donating, plasma and blood are taken from the body. The blood is placed back in the body after enough plasma is collected.

“Plasma contains proteins for blood clotting and defending the body against infection and is quickly replenished by the body,” Sciarra said. “We collect plasma using a process called plasmapheresis that separates the plasma from the blood and collects it in a bottle. We use a machine that safely collects the plasma and returns the other parts of the blood back to the donor.”

First-time donors should prepare to spend more time at the center than previous donors. First-time donors need to take steps before the actual donation to ensure their eligibility.

“The first time you go in, it takes like two hours just because they have to run you through a physical, an information session and set up an account — which does take a while but it is only like that the first time,” Rumback said.

Some people find donating easier than others. Grove said she finds it easy and has suggested many of her friends try donating.

“For me, donating easy, it’s just getting poked with a needle, it doesn’t really bother me at all,” Grove said. “I’ve taken lots of friends to donate though and it’s definitely not for everyone.”

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