‘He was so very sick:’ Kern County family says plasma donation saved their father’s life


Houchin Community Blood Bank: only around 130 out of the 5,000 people that have recovered from the virus in Kern have donated plasma

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — If you’ve recovered from the coronavirus, Houchin Community Blood bank wants to hear from you. The donation center is still collecting convalescent plasma from COVID-19 survivors. Tallie Reynolds and her daughter Bailey have experience the benefit of these donations firsthand.

“Plasma saved my husband’s life,” said Tallie Reynolds

It was late April, when Reynolds, Bailey, and her husband Justin all tested positive for the coronavirus. The two women were asymptomatic, while Justin suffered double phenomena.

“He was so very sick, and we prayed and prayed and prayed,” said Reynolds.

Her husband was quickly placed in a medically-induced coma surviving solely off a ventilator. Hope seemed lost until the families’ prayer was answered in the form of a plasma donation.  The antibodies provided by anonymous COVID-19 survivor helped boost Justin’s immune system, giving him the strength to breathe on his own again.

“Little by little, he made it,” said Reynolds.

Motivated by this act of kindness, this mother-daughter combo decided to give the same gift to another family battling this dreaded disease.

“We received a letter from Houchin after we made our first donation that said somebody in Kern County received our plasma, and it saved their life,” said Reynolds.

The news brought a smile to her husbands face.

“He was telling the nurses my wife and daughter are out saving lives, said Reynolds. “He goes, they are my heroes.”

Despite being one of the most effective treatments for COVID-19, Rachel Parlier, with Houchin Community Blood Bank, says only around 130 people have donated. A tiny fraction of the more-than 5,000 people that have recovered from the virus in Kern County.

“The demand for convalescent plasma is a lot higher than the supply right now, so that’s kind of why we’re putting that cry out to Kern County,” said Parlier.

The blood bank is also offering survivors a $50 gift card to donate. If you can help call 661-616-2575. You can donate up to eight times in one three-month period.

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