Tipp City donor Jack Huffman is a Chaminade Julienne High School graduate and a freshman at the University of Notre Dame who just finished a fall semester full of surprises. The latest came with his Nov. 25, Thanksgiving Eve donation at Community Blood Center.
It’s no surprise that Jack is a blood donor because he is the youngest in a family of donors, with his dad State Senator Steve Huffman leading the way. But Jack is now the first in his family to donate COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma.
Like many college students, Jack was exposed to the coronavirus soon after beginning classes. “It was in October,” he said. “My roommate tested positive. I had a cough, I went and got tested and was negative, but I was positive for strep. Two days later I tested positive for strep and COVID.”
Next came his time under quarantine in a motel the university had set up for COVID-positive students. He could keep up with his classes online, but it wasn’t easy. “I was super tired and had a headache the whole time,” he said. “I was lazy. You’re in a motel room by yourself. It’s hard to get work done.”
Jack’s workload isn’t easy. He’s a bio-chemistry major and pre-med, with plans to follow his dad and siblings into medicine. Steve Huffman is an emergency room physician who sponsored the legislation for January Ohio Blood Donor Awareness Month. Steve encouraged Jack to donate convalescent plasma.
“I was excited,” said Jack. “I wanted to get my test results and be here. I heard there was definitely a need to donate and a need for plasma donors. It takes 50 minutes and can save a life.”
Despite the disruptions of the pandemic, he has enjoyed the experience of freshman year, including Fighting Irish football.
“It’s a lot different being at school,” he said. “You would ordinarily be inside with your professors, instead you’re usually hanging out outside. They set up fire pits and hanging lights around campus.”
“I was happy just to be there,” he said. “But when we got football, it was, Alright!”
Jack was an athlete at CJ and won a CBC Lead The Way scholarship for his blood drive campaign “Be Part of a Winning Team, Give Blood.” It featured a t-shirt with a team jersey design.
He missed only one Notre Dame football game when he was in quarantine. He was in the stands for Notre Dame’s overtime win over Clemson and was part of the crowd that rushed the field.
“I felt bad,” he said. “I already had had COVID, and I wore a face mask. It was exciting to be there!”
The Crisis Warrior t-shirt he received for donating CCP is very much an Irish green.
Jack made three whole blood donations in high school and with CCP now has four lifetime donations. He’s home for holiday break from Thanksgiving until early February. Recovered COVID-19 survivors like Jack can donate convalescent plasma once a week and Jack hopes to donate often.
“It takes very little of my time,” he said, “and makes a much bigger difference in someone else’s life.”